Wednesday, June 17, 2015


June 17, 2015


Tampa, FL – Celebrating its 54th year recognizing the best and brightest of the state’s sports achievers, the Florida Sports Hall of Fame recently added six new members to its Board of Directors. Former Florida State and Tampa Bay Bucs wide receiver Barry Smith, current President of the organization, made the announcement.

“We have the most amazing group of creative and forward-thinking individuals comprising our Board at this point in our history,” Smith said. “We are poised to transform the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in a way that will continue to make it alive and relevant in this fast-paced and high tech age.”

The new board members will begin their duties immediately and will be part of a 22-person group charged with steering the Hall of Fame through its current revitalization. The Hall, originally founded by the Florida Sportswriters Association and the Florida Sportscasters 1961, has inducted 234 members through the years.
This year’s slate of inductees will be announced this summer.

The six newly elected board members are:

Dean Baker, President of Dean Baker Sports, Inc. based in Ft. Lauderdale, has represented some of the top companies in sports over a 25-year span. A renown sales and fund-raising professional, Baker is a highly-recognized consultant to multiple organizations. He sits on the Board of Directors for the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame, South Florida PGA and Junior Achievement.
Wayne Hogan, CEO and Owner of Mango Media Management, LLC, a St. Petersburg based public relations and communications consulting firm. Hogan spent 35 as a collegiate athletics administrator, including 17 at Florida State and eight at Georgia Tech, where he was a senior level external affairs chief. Hogan served as Director of Athletics at FSU in 1994 and was AD at the University of Montana from 1995-2004. 

Steve Nudelberg, Principal Thinker at On the Ball Marketing in Plantation, is a self-described serial entrepreneur. His business focuses on investing time and talent into companies’ ventures that help them grow and improve. On the Ball is integrally a part of more than a half dozen businesses and its clients include The Eppy Group, Enterprise Fleet Management and AIG and United Banking. 

John R. Reger, a 33-year member of the PGA of America and General Manager/Director of Golf at Adena Golf and Country Club, a magnificent new development in Ocala. He has filled a variety of roles through his career including golf professional, golf course developer, golf writer, broadcaster and consultant. 

David T. Shannon, Jr., Founder and CEO of Champion Evolution Group, LLC in Lake Mary has worked for more than 20 years in the technology commercialization, small business development and systems management industries. Shannon spent 14 years with NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia after earning a degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan. He also coaches the track team at Lake Mary High School and handles football operations for the Lake Mary Ducks, an AAU organization.

Garry Smits is a 34-year veteran sportswriter in the state of Florida, including the last 27 years with the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. Smits has covered many college and professional sports in the state including numerous bowl games and the 2005 Super Bowl. He has become noted in recent years for his golf coverage, where he has been a mainstay at the Players Championship and the Masters. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Remembering Ray Graves - FSHOF Class of 1972

Coach Ray Graves, a 1990 College Football Hall of Fame inductee from the University of Florida, passed away April 10. He was 96 years old.

Born on Dec. 31, 1918, Graves played at the University of Tennessee where he was team captain in 1941. After a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, Graves embarked on a coaching career in 1944 at his alma mater. Graves joined Georgia Tech’s coaching staff in 1947, where he spent 13 seasons under legendary Hall of Fame Coach Bobby Dodd.

The University of Florida hired the 41-year-old Graves as the 14th head football coach in school history in January 1960. In 10 seasons as the Gators’ head coach from 1960-69, Graves won nearly 70 percent of his games, and he led Florida to five bowl games, including its first appearances in the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. Graves finished his career at Florida with a 70-31-4 record, including a 9-1-1 season in 1969 and a memorable 14-13 victory over Tennessee in his final game as head coach. He coached seven All-America players and three College Football Hall of Famers, including wide receiver Carlos Alvarez, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier and defensive end Jack Youngblood. 

Ray Graves was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.