Alabama Academy of Honor

Fred William Sington

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1978.

Fred William Sington, civic leader, sportsman, and successful businessman, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, February 24, 1910, son of Max and Hollye (Spiro) Sington. He received his early education at Phillips High School. In 1927 he entered the University of Alabama where he was a member of Zeta Beta Tau social fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa. While a student at the university, he was vice-president of the student body; he was named All-American Football Player two years,1929 and 1930; he received the Porter Award for Best Athlete, 1931, the Pan Hellenic Award for Best Student, 1931, and graduated with an A.B. degree in 1931.

Following graduation, Sington had a distinguished career in professional sports. For one year he was assistant football coach at Duke University; the following ten years he played professional baseball with the Atlanta Crackers, Washington Senatos, and Brooklyn Dodgers.

When World War II began, he entered the United States Navy as a lieutenant junior grade and served from 1942 to 1946. After the war, in 1947, he started his present business, Fred Sington Sporting Goods, his first store being located in downtown Birmingham. Since that time he has expanded into areas outside of Birmingham, stores being located in Homewood, Huntsville, Mountain Brook, Gadsden, Athens, and Scottsboro.

Fred Sington has a reputation for being a very fine public speaker and for possessing expertise in conducting meetings. He has shared his talents widely in his solid support of, and participation in, the civic life of the city. He has served on the Birmingham Civic Center Planning Committee; as chairman of Downtown Birmingham YMCA; president of Birmingham Kiwanis; captain, Monday Morning Quarterback Club; president, Birmingham Football Foundation-Bowl Game; and president, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, 1972. He is a member of the "A" Club, Grand Order of the Krewe, Masons, and Shriners.

Sington has been a board member of the following organizations: Salvation Army, Sertoma Foundation, City Federal Savings and Loan Association, Vulcan Life Insurance Company, Junior Achievement, and Boy Scout Council.

On the state level, Fred Sington has served as president, Alabama State Fair Authority; coach, Alabama Mentally Retarded Olympics; president, University of Alabama Alumni Association,1959-60; President's Council, University of Alabama; Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Racing Committee; and state chairman, Alabama Heart Fund,1978.

Fred Sington is a past-president and treasurer of the National Sporting Goods Association and currently is serving as chairman, Hall of Fame Committee, of that organization.

Through the years he has received recognition and awards for his performance and the gift of his time and of himself in behalf of his fellow man. He was elected to the National Football Hall of Fame in 1955; he received the University of Alabama Distinguished Alumnus Award, 1967; the Pat Trammell Award for distinguished service to the University, 1970; the Junior Achievement Man of the Year Award; the Golden Eagle Scout Award; the Erskine Ramsey Award for distinguished service to the Birmingham area, 1972. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, 1972, and the Southern Athletic Hall of Fame, 1974. The University of Alabama conferred on him the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, 1976. In 1978 he was voted Sertoma Citizen of the Year and was named Alabama Cable T.V.'s Citizen of the Year.

Fred Sington is a deacon in the Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. He married Nancy Napier on December 4, 1933, and from this union have come three sons, Fred, Jr., David, and Leonard, all of whom are associated with their father in the sporting goods business.