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BCA Hall of Fame to Induct Sang Chun Lee
Mar 2, 2007, 2:58 PM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 2, 2007 — Sang Chun Lee, the South Korean expatriate who won 12 consecutive U.S. Billiard Association National Championship titles between 1990 and 2001, will be inducted into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame in a ceremony set for May 15 at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Lee, who died of stomach cancer on Oct. 19, 2004, at the age of 50, will be the second modern-day player known primarily for three-cushion billiards to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in its Greatest Players division. The first was Raymond Ceulemans of Belgium, inducted in 2001.

“A tall, slender, soft-spoken and dignified man, Lee was known and admired around the world for his calm demeanor and his imaginative style of play,” billiard writer and BCA Hall of Famer Robert Byrne wrote after Lee’s death in 2004. “He was self-taught and had worked out solutions to many three-cushion problems that differed from those of other world-class players. He was a walking highlight reel.”

Lee claimed 10 consecutive Korean national titles in caroms from 1978 to 1987, before leaving for the United States in 1987 in hopes of re-popularizing the once common game of three-cushion in America. Lee towered over U.S. three-cushion, winning 12 straight national three-cushion titles beginning in 1990. From 1990 to 1994 in U.S. national competition, he won 41 straight games in the finals, eclipsing Willie Hoppe’s record of 36 set in 1941.

His international titles included the 1993 Billiards Worldcup Association world championship and several other BWA tournaments staged in Europe.

Settling in the New York City area, Lee operated two poolrooms in Queens, N.Y., including the currently operating Carom Café Billiards. He was active as a tournament organizer and promoter, staging four Sang Lee International Tournament events in the 1990s that featured top international talent, as well as 14 U.S. Billiard Association events from 1998 to 2002. Lee’s high-run was 28, and his best game was 50 points in four innings.

The BCA’s Hall of Fame Board voted for Lee’s induction in an election held in late February. The Board consisted of 32 members, including current Hall of Fame members, billiard industry promoters and historians, and members of the billiard media. Working without an exclusive list of candidates, Board members were allowed to vote for whomever they wished, and however many players they felt deserved immediate induction into the Hall of Fame.

Lee received the most votes from the Board, appearing on 22 of the 31 ballots submitted (70.9 percent). Under current Board rules, the player receiving the most votes automatically would be inducted, followed by the next highest player mentioned on at least 70 percent of the ballots. In this year’s election, the candidate with the second-highest vote total was American Allen Hopkins, who was cited on 16 of the 31 ballots (51.6 percent) — not enough for induction.

Lee will be the 51st billiard industry figure inducted into the BCA’s Hall of Fame, which was established in 1966. For more information on the ceremony and tickets, visit www.bcahalloffame.com.

The following is the complete list of players who received votes, in order:

Sang Chun Lee — 22 votes
Allen Hopkins — 16 votes
Danny DiLiberto — 10 votes
Jose Parica — 8 votes
Allen Gilbert — 6 votes
Jack “Jersey Red” Breit — 5 votes
Jim Mataya — 5 votes
Belinda Calhoun — 5 votes
Kim Davenport — 3 votes
Francisco Bustamante — 3 votes
Ronnie Allen — 1 vote
Steve Cook — 1 vote
Johnny Ervolino — 1 vote
Joey Spaeth — 1 vote

Hustler-era tournament promoter George Jansco also received a vote, although he was not eligible for the Greatest Players category. He will be eligible when the Board considers inductees for Meritorious Service in 2008, in addition to candidates for Greatest Players and the new category of Veterans & Pioneers.