June 21, 2024
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Panozzo, SVB and Griffin elected into 2024 Class of the BCA Hall of Fame

The Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame has elected to induct a generational talent, a league and tournament promotor, and a leader in billiard media to the Hall of Fame class of 2024. The United States Billiard Media Association (USBMA) announced South Dakota’s “SVB” Shane Van Boening, amateur league owner and professional tournament promoter Mark Griffin, and Billiards Digest publisher Mike Panozzo to have earned induction into Billiard Hall of Fame, the sport’s most prestigious club in America Pool Billiard sport.

The 40years old Van Boening who is in first year of eligibility, was the overwhelming leader in the voting, named on 96% of the voting ballots. He will enter the Greatest Players wing of the BCA Hall of Fame, while the late Mark Griffin and Mike Panozzo, 60, will be honored in the Meritorious Service category. The BCA and the USBMA will be inducting them on Friday, Nov. 29, at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando in Conjunction with the Mosconi Cup.

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Born July 14, 1983, to a pool-playing family in Rapid City, South Dakota, Shane Van Boening began playing pool as a young child and quickly became one of the country’s best bar table players, winning numerous national amateur titles. Venturing into the professional arena in the early 2000s, the “South Dakota Kid” immediately established himself as a top-tier player. Since then, he has won virtually every significant title in the game, including a WPA World 9-Ball Championship, a WPA World 8-Ball Championship, and five (5) U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship titles. He is considered to be the greatest American player of his generation and arguably one of the top five players in the world over the last 15 years.

“Being inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame is the coolest thing ever,” Van Boening said about his election. “You think about how many years you’ve played pool and everything that it took to get to the top. It means you’ve won a lot of tournaments and championships. There are so many great players in the Hall of Fame, and now I get to be alongside them. It means a lot.”

In an interview with Mike Panozo on Billiards Digest Live Shane compared playing 8 Ball Pool similar to playing the game of Chess.

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Mark Griffin’s passion was always working to support and grow the billiard industry. Griffin had been a player, certified instructor, premier table mechanic, pool room owner, member of the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Board of Directors, league and tournament promotor, table manufacturer, sponsor, investor, mentor, and innovator. Griffin passed away in 2023 at good age of 76 years old.

Among his many billiard-related activities, Griffin had acquired the Billiard Congress of America’s amateur pool league in 2004 and created CueSports International (CSI) as its parent company. Through CSI, Griffin had also created and sustained several premier tournaments including the US Open 10-Ball Championship, US Open 8-Ball Championship, US Open One Pocket Championship, and US Open Straight Pool Championship among many others. In 2018, Griffin sold CSI to it’s current owner Ozzy Reynolds, who had previously been CSI’s general manager.

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Celebrated Billiards sport journalist, Publisher of Billiards and anchor of the Billiards Digest Live, Mike Panozzo who has devoted his entire professional career to billiards media will also make the inductee list come November. In 1980 Michael Panozzo was hired by Luby Publishing in 1980 as a journalism major at Marquette University, directly out of college to be the editor for the company and eventually he rose to become the publisher of Billiards Digest in 1994.

Panozzo served on the BCA Board of Directors from 1991-1992 and from 1998-1999 and has served extensively on its Promotions Committee in addition to chairing its Hall of Fame Committee. He served as a board member of the Billiard and Bowling Institute of America (BBIA) and was its president in 2001. He was honored with the BCA President’s Award in 2005 and received the BBIA Industry Service Award in 2017.

Speaking with Jason on the May edition of Billiards Digest Live about his feeling after been elected for the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame induction, Micheal said

“It was very cool and a huge honour for me. it is something I never honestly thought of in my 44 years in the Business. You know I am passionate about the hall of fame and never thought of myself being on the List”

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