Through the first 30 years of its existence, the New England Patriots’ Hall of Fame has been an all-boys club. The first 30 inductees were all men, which, given the nature of NFL football, should not come as much of a surprise.
On Monday, however, the organization announced that Tracy Sormanti will become the first woman to join its most hallowed halls.
The Patriots’ longtime cheerleading director, who was in her 32nd season with the team when she passed away last December, will become the third person selected by the Kraft Family to be enshrined as a contributor. Sormanti will join Patriots founder Billy Sullivan and former radio voice Gil Santos, who were inducted in 2009 and 2013, respectively.
“Tracy Sormanti was one of my first hires after I bought the team and, for the past 27 seasons, she was one of our greatest ambassadors. No one was more passionate about the Patriots and committed to using our brand to connect with fans than Tracy,” team owner Robert Kraft said in a statement.
“She loved preparing her teams for their performances, both on and off the field, and did so with great compassion and conviction. Her countless contributions spanning the past three decades have entertained and positively impacted the lives of so many in our communities. It is an honor to select Tracy as a Patriots Hall of Famer and to know that her legacy will be preserved for generations to come.”
A Rhode Island native, Sormanti first joined the organization as a cheerleader in 1983. In 1994, shortly after Kraft bought the team, she was named as the new cheerleading director. Over the next 27 years, Sormanti and her teams performed at 10 of the franchise’s 11 Super Bowls, and made thousands of appearances in the community and at military events around the world.
Following a three-year battle with Multiple Myeloma, she passed away last December at the age of 58.
On October 23, she will officially join other Patriots legends in its Hall of Fame. Among them also is defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who too will be inducted that day. Seymour was voted in last year, but due to Covid-19 did not yet have a ceremony honoring him.