Our History and Vision

About the Hall

The Ultimate Hall of Fame honors the sport’s past and celebrates its greatest players and contributors. While the Hall’s primary purpose has been to identify individuals who have made substantial contributions to our sport, the organization’s goals go beyond a celebration of past excellence. We hope to partner with organizing bodies worldwide to collect, preserve, and reveal the sport as it continues to evolve, linking its colorful and festive past with a remarkable present and a promising future.

The sport of ultimate sprouted on an asphalt parking lot at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey in 1968. Players graduated and exported the sport to colleges and universities across the eastern seaboard. Within a few years, teams began to appear across the country. By the early-1970s, the sport had jumped the Atlantic with club teams beginning to compete throughout Northern Europe. Today, more than 5 million people play ultimate in the United States and millions more play across the globe on all six continents. The international World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) currently has 102 national members and ultimate is played in around 120 countries on a regular basis.”

The Ultimate Hall of Fame was brought to life in 2004 with the support of the board of the Ultimate Players Association (UPA), now known as USAU. From the beginning, the UPA, then USAU, was a hands-off partner that provided logistical support while letting the Hall remain wholly independent. This autonomy permits the Hall to develop relationships with organizations around the world that promote the sport’s development—from grassroots programs introducing the values of the self-officiating game to a new generation of diverse players to the professional organizations that strive to popularize the sport.

For its first 16 years, the Hall was run with no budget by a rotating group of volunteers. This changed in late 2019 when the Hall formed a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. Beginning in 2020, the Hall was overseen by a board of 13 directors elected by the Hall membership. The board is responsible for the process of inducting new players, contributors, and special merit candidates. But it has also embarked on several more expansive goals, including to become:

  • the foremost repository of memorabilia that captures the history of our sport—for all players in all divisions;
  • a partner for ultimate programs around the world working to enrich and expand the global community of ultimate;
  • a champion of the values of the ultimate community, including social justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion;
  • a partner to organizations across the country that strive to introduce our sport to young players from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds while providing these future Hall of Famers with the support they need to engage, develop, and thrive;
  • a virtual space though this newly created website; and perhaps
  • one day, a physical space—a living museum –where our rich history will be displayed, debated, and celebrated or quite possibly, the creation of a virtual museum accessible worldwide.

Including the Inaugural Class from 2004, the Hall has inducted 132 player and contributor members — 65 players from the Open Division, 43 from the Women’s Division, 18 members recognized for the contributions off the field, the Mixed division Starting Class composed of 2 players and a contributor, and 4 additional Mixed players added in 2023. Also, through the Special Merit category, the Hall has recognized two categories of players and contributors instrumental in the creation of the sport and its expansion during the earliest days—The Founders and The Johnny Appleseeds. Other Special Merit recognition includes two iconic disc models—Wham-O’s “80 mold” and Discraft’s “Ultra Star.” In 2021, the Hall added the Early Photographers and Videographers in the Special Merit category. And in 2022, Special Merit inductees include Downtown Brown and The MOB.

As the Hall’s membership increases each year, so too does its ambitions to be a positive influence while preserving and promoting the sport.

Please note that although the Ultimate Hall of Fame pages on the former USAU website have been archived, most of the content continues to be available to the public and is being recreated on this website with more content to be created.

In 2022, The Board initiated a Strategic Planning process under the leadership of Board member, Pam Kraus. The Board and the working committees will be focused on bringing this Strategic Plan to life and look forward to sharing progress with the ultimate community. This plan will guide the work of the Hall through 2024 with priority given to the legacy work of the Hall with the Vetting Committee, expanding the work of the Communications Committee, as well as, establishing a new Development Committee to establish a foundation for fundraising for the Hall’s short and longer term financial foundation.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors consists of between 7 and 13 volunteers committed to furthering the work of the Hall. Hall of Fame bylaws establish that each December, approximately a third of the board is up for re-election or replacement. In the first board election in 2019, 13 members constituted our initial board. To provide the initial board the opportunity to get established, the initial board remained in place for 2 years. At year end 2021, 3 Hall members stepped away (Pat King, Keay Nakae, and Kelly Green) and 2 new Board members were added (Jim Parinella and Deb Cussen Scheibe). At year end 2022, Robert “Nob” Rauch, Board Treasurer, and Chris O’Cleary stepped away and new Board member, Andrew Lugsdin, was elected and Hall members David Blau and Lori VanHolmes were re-elected. As of March 2023, there were 11 members on the board with a new Treasurer, Ken Leiserson, appointed to replace Robert “Nob” Rauch.

As of year end 2023, Pam Kraus has stepped away from the Board as Vice President and Mixed division Task Force leader.

For 2024, newly elected Board members include Kendra Frederick, Jennifer Donnelly, and Ed Summers – a Johnny Appleseed member; Board officers will continue to serve in their roles.

Every member of the Hall is eligible to run for the board and is eligible to vote in the yearly elections.

Executive Committee:

  • Dave Blau (HoF ’17) is the Board President and leads the Communications and Development committees.
  • Lori VanHolmes (HoF ’15) is Board Vice President and leads the Principles and Development Committee.
  • Brian Murphy (HoF ’07) is the Secretary and leads the Bylaws Committee.
  • Ken Leiserson (HoF ’22 – Special Merit Downtown Brown leader/co-founder) – is the Treasurer
  • Suzanne Fields (HoF ’04) is the Board Administrator and Chair of the Vetting Committee.

Friends of the Hall