The 2017 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class featured (from left) Shane Doan, Michael Bidwill representing his father Bill, Paola Boivin, Anthony Robles and Dan Majerle.
Bill Bidwill couldn't make it to his induction into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday night, but in some ways, that was fitting for the Cardinals owner.
"He's 86, and he's slowing down, like a lot of 86-year-olds," his son, Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said during his acceptance for his father . "But if he was here, he'd probably send me up to do this speech anyway."
"Anyone who knows my dad, the spotlight recognition was something he wanted to avoid."
Bill Bidwill deservedly was in the spotlight, though, joining a 2017 Hall class that also included former Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan, sportswriter Paola Boivin, ASU wrestler Anthony Robles and former Suns guard/Grand Canyon University coach Dan Majerle.
"The recognition is huge," Michael Bidwill said before the ceremony at Scottsdale Plaza resort. "My Dad has done so much for this community, bringing Super Bowls here, he was the impetus for getting that (University of Phoenix) stadium done, which has been the cornerstone of our success. He's been so committed to the Cardinals and the community. He's not been a guy who
has been out front much, he's a man who is more about actions than about words, but he's very proud of this, and we're very proud of this."
The Hall honors athletes, coaches and others who have made significant contributions to sports in the state. Former Cardinals all-pro safety Adrian Wilson was elected in the Class of 2016. Inductees must meet one of three criteria: Be an Arizona native, be immediately recognized as an Arizonan, or have made at least two significant contributions to Arizona's athletic community.
"The biggest thing for me is we have football here because of him," Boivin said. "The NFL, in my mind, is king, and to have that in our community is because of the Bidwill family.
"There two things I always respected about him. I've never been big on owners that wanted to be the center of attention and that was never the case (with him). Also, I'd hear behind the scenes the charity work he was doing."
The Cardinals were moved to Arizona by Bidwill in 1988, bringing with him not only a franchise but the formation of Cardinals Charities, which has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars philanthropically to Arizona causes and issues.
Bidwill also helped campaign to bring Super Bowls to Arizona in 1996 and 2007, and worked to get Proposition 302 passed, which allowed for the construction of University of Phoenix Stadium. When he hired Dennis Green as coach in 2004, the Cardinals were the first team to have both an African-American coach in Green and an African-American general manager in Rod Graves.
"When I got here, they were still at Sun Devil Stadium," said Doan, who came to Arizona with the Coyotes in 1996. "I got to be friends with (former Cardinal) Andre Wadsworth, and the whole way the community embraces the Cardinals now is just incredible with the new stadium and the standard of excellence they have kind of established. It's great for the Valley and it's great for the entire state."
Images from the Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl 2009 Super Bowl matchup