Joining Atwater as inductees at the April banquet are Don Baylor, Don Cockroft, Adam Foote, Steve Jones and Stan Williams as the Class of 2013 was selected here Tuesday (October 9, 2012).
The Selection Committee will also pick the 2012 Athletes-of-the-Year at a meeting January 8, 2013, as the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame will also recognize collegiate, high school, Olympic and professional athletes at the Denver Marriott City Center banquet.
Nicknamed the Smiling Assassin, Atwater was the 20th player to be inducted into the Denver Broncos' prestigious Ring of Fame in 2005.
The Broncos' first-round draft choice and the 20th selection overall in 1989 from Arkansas, Atwater appeared in eight Pro Bowls during his Bronco career.
During his 11-season NFL career, Atwater started 166 of 167 games with 1,074 solo tackles as he finished his career with the New York Jets.
Atwater also started 155 games in Denver and made 24 interceptions.
Atwater was also among 27 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2012.
He was one of four previously eligible candidates that made it to the semifinals for the first time.
Named the first manager of the new Colorado Rockies franchise in 1992, Baylor joined one of the sporting world's most elite groups: black baseball managers.
No other black manager faced the hurdles of building a team from scratch and making it a winner against formidable odds, all in a city where fans have spent decades waiting feverishly for their own big-league club.
Baylor posted a 440-469 (.484) record in six seasons with Colorado as the Rockies' 363-384 (.486) mark from 1993-1997 was the best five-year record for the start of an expansion club.
In 1995, Baylor earned Manager of the Year honors from the BBWAA and Sporting News after leading the Rockies to their first Postseason berth in franchise history as the NL Wild Card.
Baylor returned to Colorado as the Rockies' hitting coach from 2009-2010, when Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez blossomed in an offense that led the NL in numerous offensive categories.
A high school standout at Fountain (now Fountain-Fort Carson) in the early 1960s, Cockroft competed at Adams State College in Alamosa before being drafted in the third-round of the 1967 National Football League draft by the Cleveland Browns.
Cockroft was a punter and placekicker for 13 seasons with the Browns. He scored more than 1,000 points in his career and was known as one of the greatest clutch kickers in NFL history.
Cockroft connected on 17 of 17 game winning kicks during his career.
Cockroft was named in 2007 to the Cleveland Browns Legends program that honors former players who have made a major impact on the organization.
Prior to his NFL career, Cockroft was one of the nation's top collegiate punters at Adams State where he set a NAIA record with a punting average of more than 48 yards per attempt in 1966.
His number "0" was retired at Adams State in 1995. In 2000, he was inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame.
Foote was best known for his physical presence and gritty play as a stay-at-home defenseman.
He finished his NHL career by playing in 1,154 games with 66 goals, 242 assists, a plus-minus rating of 99 and 1,534 penalty minutes.
Internationally, Foote won a gold medal in 2002 Winter Olympics and a World Cup championship in 2004 with Team Canada.
Drafted out of the Ontario Hockey League in the 1989 National Hockey League entry draft, Foote began his pro career with the Quebec Nordiques before relocating with the franchise to Colorado, where he won two Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001.
After playing three seasons for the Columbus Blue Jackets (2005-2007) where he served as team captain, Foote agreed to re-sign with the Avalanche in 2008.
He was named Joe Sakic's successor in becoming the eighth captain in franchise history (including the Nordiques) and just the second in Avalanche history.
He was the last active NHLer to have played for the Quebec Nordiques.
Jones' professional golf career was highlighted by the U. S. Open win where he defeated Tom Lehman and Davis Love III by one stroke to become the first sectional qualifier to win the tournament since Jerry Pate in 1976.
A winner of eight PGA Tour events, Jones captured the 1997 Phoenix Open by 11 strokes as he posted the third lowest 72-hole score in PGA history at the time (a 26-under 258).
The medalist at the 1986 PGA Tour Qualifying School before making it big time in 1987, Jones set numerous school records during his University of Colorado career (1977-81) where he was the first recruited for Coach Mark Simpson.
He became the first and only player in CU history to record four top 10 finishes in the conference championship meets (two thirds and two sevenths in four Big 8 title events).
Thus, he is the only four-time, first-team all-conference performer in golf and one of just a handful in all sports at CU.
Williams, nicknamed "Big Daddy" and "The Big Hurt", grew up on Denver's East Side and went to East High School. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers out of high school as an amateur free agent in 1954.
Williams pitched 14 years in the big leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958-1962), New York Yankees (1963-1964), Cleveland Indians (1965-1969), Minnesota Twins (1970-1971), St. Louis Cardinals (1971) and the Boston Red Sox (1972).
A 1960 All-Star, Williams had a career record of 109-94 in 482 games and 208 starts.
He got the majority of his wins with the Dodgers in the early stages of his 14-year career. Williams, who pitched in two World Series games, compiled a career ERA of 3.48 and had 42 career complete games with 11 shutouts and 1305 career strikeouts.
After retiring, Williams served as a pitching coach for 14 MLB seasons, with the Red Sox, Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds.
Tickets are $175 each and Sponsor tables start at $2,500. For additional for ticket and table information, please telephone the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame (www.coloradosports.org, 720/258-3535).
The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is located at Gate 1 on the west side of Sports Authority Field at Mile High at 1701 Bryant Street in Denver.