Longtime Thunderbirds Executive Director John Bridger To Be Inducted Into Arizona Sports Hall Of Fame

John Bridger, former executive director of The Thunderbirds who retired in May of 2020, has been elected to the 2020 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class by the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission.  John will be formally inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class on Friday, April 23, 2021 at The Phoenician Resort and will be joined by the rest of the 2020 class that includes three-time WM Phoenix Open champion Phil Mickelson and former Phoenix Suns head coach Paul Westphal.

Congratulations to each member of this diverse, stellar Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class,” Crest Insurance Group President Cody Ritchie said. “These worthy honorees have made important contributions to Arizona sports, both on and off the field, and we are proud to recognize each of them.”

The Arizona Sports Hall of Fame honors athletes, coaches, administrators, and others who have made significant contributions to Arizona sports. The 2020 class was selected by a vote of trustees and the public, which elected Bridger in online balloting.

To be eligible for the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, an individual must meet one of three criteria:

  1. A native of Arizona.
  2. Immediately recognized as an Arizonan.
  3. Have made at least two significant contributions to the athletics community in Arizona.

“Arizona has a rich sports tradition, and this Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class exemplifies that tradition perfectly,” ASEC Executive Director Nikki Balich-Cammarata said. “Each of these individuals has played an important role in shaping our state’s sports history.”

John took over as executive director of The Thunderbirds – hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – in 2002 with a goal to steward the group into worldwide success. After 18 years of exceptional leadership, loyal and unwavering community service, more than $100 million raised for Arizona charities under his watch, and recognition from the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, we can say – without a doubt – John accomplished that goal.

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor John, and it’s only fitting that you will be in the same class as Phil Mickelson!

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