The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2006 class at a ceremony held Aug. 13 at Tucson Electric Park and among the inductees were two Northwest and Foothills icons.
Ed Hochuli and Don Pooley highlighted the group of 11 nominees who specialized in sports from football and softball to rodeo and synchronized swimming.
Hochuli is a seasoned veteran of the NFL where he has been a referee for the past 17 years.
"It's a real thrill," said the 55-year-old. "It's something that caught me out of left field, I had no idea and was really quite surprised and tickled."
After graduating from Canyon Del Oro High School, Hochuli went on to play linebacker at the University of Texas-El Paso. It wasn't until after his playing days were over - and while he was studying to be a lawyer - when Hochuli first gave the job real thought.
"The days at CDO I never thought I'd become an official," he said. "I didn't even pay attention to the officials; they were just somebody who got in our way and ruined our day. Now I'm ruining other people's days."
The highlight of his career has been officiating in two Super Bowls (XXXI and XXXVIII), he said.
What people don't realize, said Hochuli, is that being a referee isn't just a three-hour job on Sundays. The job has become a year-round commitment with lots of travel and even more film sessions.
Hochuli is among the most recognizable of all NFL referees and has even had his own Top-10 list dedicated to him by David Letterman. Away from the gridiron, Hochuli is an attorney specializing in civil law.
Joining Hochuli is Pooley, a fixture on the PGA's Champions Tour. The Foothills resident first made a name for himself on the golf courses in Southern Arizona as a member of the University of Arizona men's golf team.
The 53-year-old turned pro in 1973 and spent 27 years on the PGA tour. He made quite the first impression during his first event on the Champions Tour in 2001 when he won the U.S. Senior Open.
"It's a very nice honor, one I certainly didn't expect when I started playing golf here in Tucson," said Pooley. "I thought my professional career would last maybe two years, it's lasted about 33 years."
For his career, Pooley has earned more than $4 million in winnings but what he'll most likely be remembered for is his "Million-dollar Hole-in-One" at the 1987 Bay Hill Classic.
All told, Pooley has appeared in more than 20 Tucson Opens, including the final one this year.
With stronger and more skilled players expected to join the Champions Tour in the years to come, Pooley figures his days earning his living on the golf course are numbered.
"I've always kind of taken it a year at a time. With this tour I can kind of play in it a little more than I could on the other tour. I'm thinking three to five years (before I retired)."
Pooley is also a member of both the University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and the Riverside (Calif.) Sports Hall of Fame.
Other inductees into this year's hall of fame class include Arizona senator Paula Aboud (women's tennis), Frank Busch (swimming), Candy Kaemerer (synchronized swimming), Bob Logan (football), Bert Otero (girl's softball), Jack Rickard (sports journalist), Benny Rincon (baseball), Gary Williams (Tucson Rodeo) and the Tucson Rodeo Committee.
This year's class - the 17th annual - will be officially inducted into the hall at a ceremony held Oct. 15.
The Pima County Sports Hall of Fame is located in the La Placita Village in Rio Nuevo. For more information call 296-3788.