Horatio "Bennie" Blades: Football
The Fort Lauderdale resident and Piper High School graduate was born the third of seven children and wasn't even considered the best athlete in the family. However, legendary coach Jimmy Johnson called him the best athlete he has ever coached at his position. As a student at the University of Miami, he was selected as an All-American (1986/1987) and won the Jim Thorpe award for the nation's best defensive back (1987). Drafted 3rd overall by the Detroit Lions (1988), he made an immediate impact in the NFL. Blades was named to several All-Pro teams and in 1991 earned a Pro Bowl berth. He was inducted into the UM Hall of Fame (2006) and selected to the Detroit Lions 75th All-Time Team (2008), but none of these accomplishments made his dad prouder than when his name went into UM's Ring of Honor (2009). After an illustrious career, he now enjoys quality time with his family and shares his life experiences with the youth of the City of Fort Lauderdale as a Recreation Instructor. He also mentors at-risk youth in the South Florida area through his Bennie Blades 36 Foundation. He is determined to teach our youth that "DETERMINATION is greater than talent." Blades lives in Ft. Lauderdale with his wife, Linda and their six children.
Walter Dix: Track and Field
The Broward County native and Coral Springs H.S. graduate is the fourthfastest 200-meter runner ever with a best of 19.53 seconds. He has broken the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters several times with a best of 9.88 seconds. Dix was a highly successful high school athlete, setting a state record in the 200 m and trying out for the US Olympic Team at age 18. He was awarded a Track and Field scholarship at Florida State University and in his freshman year broke the 100 m American junior record and won at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. After a fourth place finish at the 2005 US Championships, Dix continued his collegiate success, setting an NCAA record of 19.69 seconds in the 200 m and coming within one hundredth second of the 100 m record. He completed a 100 m, 200 m, and 4×100 meter relay sweep at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor championships, the first to do so since John Carlos in 1969. Dix turned professional in 2008 and reached the Olympic finals in the 100 and 200 m, winning two bronze medals - the only American track athlete to win two individual medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics. In 2011, he was both the 100 and 200 m American champion and won silver medals in the events at the 2011 World Championships. He was awarded an ESPY for best Track and Field Athlete in 2012. The annual Walter Dix Track and Field Invitational at Coral Springs High School encourages Broward students to pursue track and field. Walter is currently competing successfully on the European circuit in preparation for the 2016 Olympics.
Jobie Hughes: Soccer
The Davie resident and Boys Soccer Coach at St. Thomas Aquinas High School brought the Raiders 572 wins in his 28 year tenure. Under his guidance, the Raiders won three National Championships, five Florida State Championships, six Florida State Runner-up Championships, twelve Regional Championships, and 23 District Championships. He was named State of Florida High School Coach of the Year three times. Both in 2004 and 2005, Hughes was awarded the Leo Suarez/Walter Krietsch Courage Award. In 2005, he was honored with the Miami Herald Courage Award and was named Coach of the Year by the Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel numerous times. He has served as Vice President of the Florida Youth Soccer Association while coaching several different age groups of Florida Youth Soccer teams and also the Broward County Select Team. He also coached and umpired both Little League and High School baseball, as well as being a high school soccer referee and coaching the Broward County College Varsity Soccer team for three years. At St. Thomas Aquinas High School he was known as the "Voice of the Raiders" on the PA for twenty-five years. Hughes and his wife, Joyce, have been married 52 years, have two daughters, Gail and Kelly, one son, Kyle, five grandsons, five granddaughters and one great-grandson.
Mike Mularkey: Football
The Northeast graduate began his high school football career as quarterback for the Hurricanes football team. He was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Florida where he was three-year letter-winner for the Gators as a tight end from 1979-82. His pro football career began when he was selected by Bill Walsh and the San Francisco 49ers in the 1983 NFL Draft. During his nine-year professional career with the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers, he totaled 102 receptions for 1,222 yards and nine touchdowns in 114 games. Mularkey entered the NFL coaching ranks in 1994 as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From there, he went on to coach the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and Atlanta Falcons. He was named the NFL's Assistant Coach of the Year in 2001 by the Pro Football Writers of America, after the Steelers led the NFL in rushing on their way to a 13-3 record and a spot in the AFC Championship Game. In 2004-2005, as Buffalo Bill's Head Coach, he led a losing franchise to a winning season his first year with the team. During his four-year tenure with the Atlanta Falcons as offensive coordinator he was credited with developing Matt Ryan into one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks. Mularkey set numerous franchise records and was named "Offensive Coordinator of the Year" in 2010 by The Sporting News. Mularkey and his wife Betsy have been married for 29 years and have two sons, Patrick and Shane.
Sharon Robb: Sports Media
The longtime Fort Lauderdale resident has been one of America's best amateur sportswriters for more than 40 years. The Nova High School and Broward College graduate started as an intern at the Fort Lauderdale News at age 16, worked for the Hollywood Sun-Tattler for nine years and South Florida Sun-Sentinel for 28 years before leaving in 2009. She covered high school and college sports but her priority was grass roots sports, from boxing to swimming. Her passion for the "underdog" sports led her to the Summer and Winter Olympics, Pan American Games and World Championships as she travelled to Germany, Spain, South Korea, New Zealand, South America, Australia, Cuba, Norway, Canada, Outer Mongolia and others. Her outstanding coverage of the State Track Meets held at Coral Springs High School for two years helped set attendance records for the Florida High School Activities Association. She won APSE and Florida Sportswriters Association writing awards and was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Florida Boxing Hall of Fame. She continues to write about grass roots sports for two swimming websites, South Florida High School Sports, Palm Beach Post, and Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington.
John Webb: Sports Development
The Jacksonville native and Florida State graduate began a very successful coaching career at the young age of 22. Webb led winning programs at the High School and Jr. College levels, and at the University of Florida where he became UF's winningest track coach. His athletes earned 123 National Junior College Athletic Assn. All American honors and 72 NCAA All American honors and he coached seven Olympians. Webb was named NJCAA National Coach of the Year twice. As head track coach at UF, he was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year six times and in 1989 the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year. His coaching achievements led to the induction into the Florida Track and Field Hall of Fame. After 20 years of coaching, he moved to Broward County and joined the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau as Director of Sports Development. For ten years, he played a major role in putting Broward on the map in the world of Sports Development and Sports Tourism. He currently resides in Tallahassee where he leads the State of Florida's sports initiatives as President of the Florida Sports Foundation. John and his wife Linda of 33 years have two beautiful daughters Pamela and Christa.