GAINESVILLE – Former Taylor and Bolles School baseball standout Larry “Chipper” Jones, four-sport starDaniel Tharpe, trailblazer and longtime contest official Margaret Busbee and prominent peacemaker during the early days of integration, Eddie Shannon headline the group of 12 distinguished individuals selected for induction into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Joining them in the Class of 2012 are:Central Florida Officials Association member Prince Pollard; Naples girls basketball coach David Walker; Wakulla football head coach John David Jones; Astronaut boys tennis head coach Michael Hoctor; the late football head coach H. Edward Feely; Gainesville girls volleyball head coach Cindy Boulware; Duval County administrator Jon Fox; and the late Vero Beach football head coach William “Billy” Livings.
This is the 22nd group to be inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Founded during the 1990-91 school year, the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame keeps alive the tradition and spirit of high school athletics, and honors each year those persons who, through extraordinary achievement, have excelled in one or more high school programs sponsored by the Association and its member schools.This year’s 12 inductees bring the number of deserving individuals who have been enshrined in the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame to 156. They include student-athletes, coaches, administrators, contest officials and other contributors, which can range from influential media personnel, trainers or volunteers to somebody such as 2012 inductee Eddie Shannon who helped break the color barrier.
The 2012 Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place April 29 at 7 p.m. at the Best Western Gateway Grand in Gainesville.
Brief biographical sketches are listed for each inductee below:
Chipper Jones, 39, began his high school baseball career at Taylor High School, where he pitched a one-hitter as a freshman. He went to The Bolles School as a sophomore, where he was a two-way player, chalking up a 6-3 record with 87 strikeouts and a 1.89 ERA as a pitcher while hitting .391 batting average with seven home runs, earning First Team All-State honors. In 1989, he played football and baseball, winning First Team All-State honors in both sports and winning a state championship in baseball. He also notched the Tournament MVP honors and held an 11-1 pitching record with a 0.81 ERA in 84 innings pitched, and 107 strikeouts. In his senior year, the Bulldogs were the state-runner up while Jones compiled a 7-3 record with a 1.00 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 79 innings on the mound, while hitting .488 with 14 stolen bases. Jones won the Gatorade Circle of Champions Florida Baseball Player of the Year, Regional Baseball Player of the Year and Runner-up National Player of the Year. He was the first pick of the 1990 Major League Baseball draft by the Atlanta Braves where he is heading into his 19th season. Professionally, Jones won the 1999 National League MVP and in 2002 was the only third baseman in history to reach 100 RBI in six consecutive years. In April 2011, Jones reached the 2,500-hit plateau and on August 31, 2011, slammed his 450th career home run.
Tharpe, 69, attended Cocoa High and to this day, some of his records have still not been broken. During his four years as a Tiger, Tharpe received 15 varsity letters. He was a two-year starter in football as a running back, a four-year starter in basketball as a point guard, four-year starter in baseball as a pitcher and second baseman, and for four years was a No. 1 singles and doubles player in tennis. In basketball, he was a two-time First Team All-State selection and his senior year, was an Honorable Mention All-American. As a pitcher, he threw two perfect games — one of which he struck out every batter in the game against Melbourne – and tossed a combined 12 no-hitters in his junior and senior seasons, eventually being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. Tharpe attended Western Carolina University where he was inducted into the Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991 after leading the baseball team in hitting in 1964, averaging double figures in scoring all four basketball seasons, playing tennis for two seasons and starting at linebacker in 1964 before suffering an injury. Additionally, Tharpe also started the first “Little Dribbler” League for children six to12 years of age in Brevard County.
Busbee, 63, has been a pioneer in her profession. She was the first female member, officer and president of the Southern Association of Basketball Officials. Busbee was also the first female official to cross over from girls to boys basketball and in 2002, was the first female official to officiate a boys state championship game. In 1994, Busbee won State Official of the Year for girls basketball and in 2000, earned the same recognition for girls volleyball. Entering the 2011-12 school year, she has worked 30 state Final Four basketball contests and 25 state Final Four volleyball games across all classifications.
Shannon, 89, has been a great contributor to Florida athletics and that is putting it mildly. Through his 34 years of training, coaching and/or teaching at several schools, Shannon has touched many lives and continues to do so. He has contributed to the integration progress, promoting peace and harmony during strained times. He broke the color barrier, sending wide receiver Raymond Bellamy to the University of Miami – the Hurricanes’ first African-American student-athlete – and was the personal trainer for tennis legend Althea Gibson. Shannon coached for a year at Haines City and for another spell at Lincoln Memorial High School but eventually left the profession to focus his efforts on children and student-athlete’s futures. In 1996, he carried the Olympic Torch before the Olympics. In 2001 the Palmetto Youth Center was renamed “The Eddie Shannon Youth Center” and in 2004 he won the Key to the City in Palmetto. He was the 2009 Manatee County “Hometown Hero” and has won the Omega Phi Psi Alumnus of the Year for Florida A&M eight times. “Through the Tunnel” was a film created about the 1969 journey that Lincoln High took, and stars Eddie Shannon who knows the story better than anyone. He is currently the Manatee High School football team spiritual leader and a motivational speaker for Manatee and Palmetto High Schools.
Boulware, 52, has spent 26 years coaching several sports, but twenty-three of those years were dedicated to Gainesville High School’s volleyball program. She retired in 2011 with a 551-155 record, made 10 total appearances at the FHSAA Final Four (nine consecutive), two state runner-up finishes and three state championship titles. Boulware’s 2003 state championship team went undefeated with a 32-0 season and ranked sixth nationally. She is currently serving as Gainesville High School’s athletic director. In 2009, she won the Gainesville Sun Coach of the Decade. Boulware remains involved with volleyball, currently officiating the sport in the Gainesville area.
Feely, now deceased (1941-2006), lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track all four years at Gainesville High School. He went on to play football for Florida State University from 1959-1962 and returned there to be an assistant coach in 1973. Feely left a 20-year legacy as a head football coach and athletic director of five different high schools throughout central and north Florida. Known as a program-builder, Feely left Cocoa Beach High School in 1966 to take over a Merritt Island football program that had never won a football game. As a second-year coach, he guided them to a regional title and in 1972, won the state championship with a 13-0 season. He later coached at Choctawhatchee, Buchholz and Tate and finished with a combined record of 159-55-1 in his 20 seasons as a football coach in Florida. Feely tallied four perfect seasons at three separate schools (1972 – Merritt Island, 1977 – Choctawhatchee, 1981 and 1983 – Buchholz) whom had never attained that level of success prior to his arrival. In 1981 and 1983, Feely was announced the Gainesville Sun Coach of the Year and in 2002, was inducted into the Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) Hall of Fame. His coaching tree includes well-known coaches around the state of Florida such as Dwight Thomas and Jimmy Ray Stephens, among others.
Fox, 61, lettered in basketball and baseball for three years at Burney High School in Indiana and began coaching after his graduation from Ball State University in 1974. After 25 years of coaching – eight as coach and athletic director of Mandarin High School – he took his place as the district athletic director for Duval County Public Schools in 2000. As an administrator for Duval County Public Schools, Fox spearheaded fundraising efforts to restore 12 sports that were going to be cut in the 2011-12 school year and signed a Pepsi contract to help subsidize athletic programs. He is responsible for weekly site visits to assure that student-athletes have appropriate documentation to participate in 17 high schools and 25 middle schools. Fox is helping to develop and coordinate the “Save Our Sports” Foundation. In 2011, the Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) awarded him the Life Membership Award and the Professional Service Award.
Hoctor, 66, coached boys and girls tennis at Titusville for three years before taking the helm of the Astronaut boys tennis program for 30 years until his retirement in 2002. Under his tutelage, Astronaut earned the Cape Coast tennis championship 17 times and won 19 district titles. Hoctor directed Astronaut to three state championships along with four runner-up finishes, and 34 of his student-athletes won state team, individual or doubles titles. He completed his overall coaching career with a 440-100 record and went 351-81 during his tenure at Astronaut. Hoctor was twice named Florida Tennis Association State Amateur Coach of the Year and in 1992, was chosen Southeast Regional Tennis Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association. Two years later, he was inducted into FACA’s Hall of Fame. Hoctor co-authored the United States Tennis Association’s nationally published book entitled “Coaching Tennis Successfully” in 1994, and served as the National Prince Tennis All-American endorser for six years. Since 2003, he has worked as the volunteer assistant coach for the University of Florida men’s tennis team and is responsible for compiling home match statistics and an assessment of player progress and stroke mechanics while also connecting with Gator fans through a weekly e-mail newsletter.
John David Jones, 65, had been within the Wakulla High School athletic system for about 33 years. After three years of being an assistant and head JV coach, he eventually became the head coach for boys basketball, football, weightlifting and softball during his tenure at Wakulla. In his 29 years as a football head coach, he had a 219-98 record, made 20 state playoffs and won back-to-back state championships in 1980-81 seasons. Known for never cutting a student-athlete from a team, Jones was the Wakulla High athletic director from 1982 through 1987 and continued coaching until 2006. He won the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for six consecutive years and in 1981 alone, won five Coach of the Year awards. In 2005 the Wakulla High Football Stadium was renamed the John David Jones Stadium at Reynolds Field. Jones is still an active chapter member of the Childers/Everett Scholarship Program and the Houston Taft Scholarship Program.
Livings, now deceased (1936-2011), began coaching football as an assistant for his alma mater, Lanier High School in Alabama. He went on to Jefferson Davis High School in Montgomery, Ala. where he was hired as an athletic director and head coach of the football team. He moved to Florida in 1980 and took a head coach/athletic director position at Vero Beach High School. He coached for 26 years and retired in 2006 with a 211-86 record in the state of Florida and an overall record of 314-108-4 when including the games he coached in Alabama. He won 15 district titles, made playoffs 20 times and won the state championship in 1981 – the school’s only football championship. In 1981, Livings won four Coach of the Year awards and in 2000 the stadium was named Billy Livings Field.
Pollard, 67, is going on his 40th year as a FHSAA contest official, including 20 years at the junior college level and 19 years in the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference. His officiating has covered football, flag football, basketball and volleyball. In 1981, Pollard received the FHSAA Superior Official Award, and in 2002, was the Central Florida Official Association (CFOA) Official of the Year. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) tabbed him as the NFHS Section 3 Official of the Year (Section 3 includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) and in 2006, he received the FHSAA 35-Year Service Award. He was inducted into the CFOA Hall of Fame in 2007. Overall, Pollard has worked over 1,400 basketball games, including 18 state finals, and over 300 football games with five championship games among them.
Walker, 64, lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Hilliard High School in Ohio. He continued his football career for four years at Ohio Northern University, before returning to Hilliard as an assistant coach. In 1975, Walker moved to Florida and became an assistant coach for eight years at Naples High School. In 1979, he started his 33-year tenure as the girls head basketball coach and entered the 2011-12 campaign with a record of 597-271. Walker has coached five Florida High School All-Star teams in national tournaments such as the Basketball Congress International from 1990-93, and Deep South National in 2000 and has been the Treasurer of the South Florida Association of Basketball Coaches since its inception. Walker reached the 600-win milestone on Dec. 13, 2011 with a 61-48 victory over Palmetto Ridge.
Two separate committees comprised of active and retired administrators, coaches, officials, student-athletes and news media representatives evaluated the nominations of the 12 individuals selected for induction to the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame this year. A seven-member screening committee first reviewed all nominations received and determined which nominees were viable candidates for induction into the Hall of Fame. The nominations of those candidates then were forwarded to a 16-member selection committee, which rated the nomination of each candidate to determine the candidates who would be inducted.
About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association is the governing body for interscholastic athletic competition in Florida. It has a membership of more than 790 middle and senior high schools.
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