ATHENS – The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame committee announced Alan Haynes of Tyler, the former C.E.O and President of The Sportster Inc. retail sporting goods chain and lifelong sportsman, will be inducted into the hall of fame in 2019.
“There are few people who have made as big of an impact on Texas fishing as Alan Haynes,” said Dan Kessler, TFF Hall of Fame Committee Chair. “For more than 45 years he has demonstrated through his professional work and personal contributions to our community a commitment to promoting fishing and the conservation of our natural resources. Not only has he been recognized nationally as a leader among sporting goods retailers, he has been a true leader in Texas’ fishing community, and we are proud to induct him into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 2019.”
Haynes, who one nominee dubbed “the gold standard for judging a sportsman and conservationist,” began his career in the 1970’s founding The Sportster Inc. in Tyler – a fishing tackle and outdoor sports store that “had it all.” Noted in several nomination letters, Haynes’ forward-thinking and innovation as a fishing tackle retailer brought new products to Texas anglers along with educational opportunities to learn from world-renowned professional anglers and experts.
Professionally, Haynes served as chair of the Nation’s Best Sports Buying Groups fishing tackle buying committee representing 650 participating stores nationwide, was an advisory board member for Fishing Tackle Retailer Magazine and was a recipient of the National Leadership Award as Independent Sporting Goods Retailer of the Year by the Sporting Goods Dealer Magazine.
But outside of the store, Haynes has also devoted a significant amount of time and effort serving with many non-profit and government organizations that promote conservation initiatives and share a common goal of building the next generation of youth into fisherman and hunters.
Haynes was a co-founder of the Tyler Woods and Waters Club, now called the East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation, a locally supported organization that helps fund and promote outdoors-related activities throughout East Texas. In addition to helping to develop the Tyler Nature Center, the foundation has opened public fishing access in the Neches River, provides youth and family fishing access to Tyler-area urban fishing lakes, and recently installed a handicapped accessible fishing pier at Tyler’s Faulkner Park.
Haynes also served as a leader on several boards and committees with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, including the TPWD Freshwater Fishing Advisory Committee, the planning committee for the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and as the first chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Kid Fish Program.
“Haynes’ lifetime commitment to promoting fishing and expanding access in our state has created opportunities for countless Texas anglers and families to connect with each other in the outdoors and pass down hunting and fishing traditions to future generations,” Kessler said. “His influence, knowledge and unselfish contributions to the sport have truly made a difference in people’s lives, and we are honored to recognize him for the lasting impact he has made on freshwater fishing in Texas.”
The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is housed at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and its mission is to “recognize and honor those who have made a lasting contribution to freshwater fishing in Texas, and to foster a sense of appreciation, awareness and participation in the sport of fishing.” Since 1997, the hall of fame has inducted 34 individuals and organizations, including the 2018 inductees Shannon Thompkins and the Lake Fork Sportsman’s Association.
Haynes will be officially inducted into the TFF Hall of Fame at the 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department at Lake Fork May 2-6, 2019.