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Howard Davis, Jr - Boxing
This Fort Lauderdale resident and businessman was raised in Long Island, NY as the eldest of 10 children. As a youngster, his first love was actually music. At the age of 12; Davis, Jr. played the drums in group called the "Dynamics" and shared the stage with the likes of Sammy Davis Jr. and the one and only James Brown. However, at 15-years-old his father (Howard Davis Sr.) took his son to watch a movie that would forever change his life. The movie was called: AKA Cassius Clay and it was a biographical movie about Muhammad Ali's life. The movie inspired him so much that he started training in the gym the very next day. Davis, Jr. was trained by his father, who was a former Boxer and community activist in his hometown of Glen Clove, NY. As an amateur Boxer; Davis, Jr. became one of the most decorated US fighters ever; with an outstanding record of 120 wins with only 5 loses. Some of his amateur boxing accomplishments include 4-time New York Golden Glove Champion (1973-1976), the 1973 National AAU Champion (125 lbs.), first American fighter to win the 1974 World Amateur Championships in Havana, Cuba (125 lbs.), and the 1976 AAU Champion (132 lbs.), where he defeated the likes of Hilmer Kenty and Thomas Hearns. In the 1976 Olympic Trials he defeated Aaron Pryor to earn a berth spot on the team and fought at 132 lbs. He won the 1976 Olympic Gold medal in the Lightweight Division, defeating boxers from Japan, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Romania. He dedicated the Gold Medal to his beloved mother, Catherine, who had passed away just three days before his first fight in the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada. His accomplishments at the 1976 Olympics were so outstanding that he was awarded the Val Barker Trophy as the Most Outstanding Boxer of the Games, beating out his elite teammates: Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Spinks and Leon Spinks. Davis, Jr. turned pro after the Olympics and went on to achieve a record of 36-6-1 with 14 knockouts; fighting the likes of Hector "Macho" Camacho.He retired in 1996 at the age of 40. In 2003, he moved to South Florida, where he now lives with his wife Karla and their daughter. Davis Jr., made the transition from Professional Boxer to Boxing Director of one of the most famous facilities for MMA fighters: American Top Team in Coconut Creek. Davis, Jr. became a pioneer in the world of Mixed Martial Arts; as a striking coach. He was one of the first coaches to teach the Art of Boxing to many of today's world-class MMA fighters. He retired from American Top Team in 2011 to become a full-time MMA promoter. His company, Fight Time Promotions is currently the premier MMA promotion in the State of Florida and has held over 20 events from the historic War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale. Davis Jr., has been inducted to the New York, New Jersey and Florida Boxing Hall of Fames. He was also inducted into the inaugural New York Golden Gloves Hall of Fame.
Coach Jay Fitzgerald - Swimming
This longtime Pine Crest coach and Fort Lauderdale resident, was a collegiate swimmer at Virginia Commonwealth University and began his coaching career in Richmond, VA, before moving to the University of Alabama as an Assistant. Fitzgerald's coaching career spans four decades, with a number of stops across the country including Houston and Cincinnati. From club to high school to college, Fitzgerald has had a tremendous run of success in his career, including sending 34 athletes to major international meets. He has coached 16 Olympians since he sent his first swimmer to the Olympics in 1984. He has coached at the highest level in the sport, including the U.S. National Team. He was selected to coach Paraguay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as the Youth Olympic coach for Tunisia in 2010, and as the USA State Department coach for the Junior Team to Russia in 2012.Fitzgerald came to Pine Crest in 1995 after a 10-year stint at the Santa Clara Swim Club in California, one of the most storied programs in the country. Since joining the Pine Crest Panthers, his program has produced the Swimmer of the Year 9 times, 227 High School All Americans and 38 individual High School State Champions. His dual team record for boys and girls is 283-41 and State Runner-up for Boys 15 out of 19 years and 6 out of 19 years for girls.His coaching honors include being named Broward Coach of the Year 13 times, South Sectional National High School Coach of the Year in 2006, NISCA Achievement Award for excellence in High School Coaching in 2011, and induction into the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012.Apart from the high school season, Fitzgerald runs Pine Crest's year-round swim club. The program has gained national attention throughout the years due to its success. The club is highly selective, with a number of its swimmers coming from outside the country. Fitzgerald gears his club toward international swimmers who are motivated to earn collegiate scholarships. Jay is a Vietnam Veteran and has been known to wear a gold Olympic ring and a silver POW/MIA bracelet every day he walks on the pool deck. He and his wife Mary Elizabeth have three sons, Ryan, Joey, and Patrick.
Ryan Hunter-Reay - Car Racing
This Fort Lauderdale resident and graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School is a professional American race car driver. He burst onto the racing scene in the late 1990s, winning three Grand National karting championships before turning his attention to open-wheel cars where he shined in the Barber Dodge Pro Series and Toyota Atlantic Series. In 2003, he moved up to the Champ Car World Series, and became the first American rookie in 20 years to win a race when he took the checkers at Surfers Paradise. He won again the following season, dominating the race at Milwaukee in 2004 with Team Herdez. He won the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, despite only competing in six of the seventeen events, and the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. Hunter-Reay currently drives for Andretti Autosport. When he initially joined Andretti in January 2010 he won the prestigious Long Beach Grand Prix. He has since won both the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. He is the first American to win a unified IndyCar Series Championship title since Al Unser, Jr. in 1994. The 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion is the most successful American driver currently competing in open wheel competition, with more race wins than all the other current American IndyCar drivers combined. In each accomplishment, Ryan became the first American to win since Sam Hornish, Jr. in 2006. In his Indianapolis 500 win, Hunter-Reay edged second-place finisher Helio Castroneves by 0.060 seconds, the second-closest finish in the race's history.
Hunter-Reay currently drives the number 28 car in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The number is a show of support for the estimated 28 million people living with cancer worldwide. Hunter-Reay, who lost his mother to colon cancer in 2009, continues to be a leader in the fight against cancer. He serves as the primary spokesman for the Livestrong Foundation and as an ambassador for Racing for +Cancer, an organization founded in 2010 to help build awareness in the global fight against cancer. Ryan resides with his wife Beccy and son Ryden and enjoys scuba diving, surfing and fishing.
William T. Reeves - Sports Officiating
This Fort Lauderdale resident is a graduate of East Stroudsburg State College in PA and has a Masters degree from Appalachian State University. He was a teacher and department head in the Dade County School System for 30+ years. In addition to his service as a teacher in the South Florida community, Bill spent the last 50 years officiating High Jump events in the state of Florida, throughout the United States, and all over the world. Some of the major meets he has covered include the Olympic Games of 1984 and 1996, five Olympic Trials, the Olympic Sports Festival, NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, USA Track and Field Indoor and Outdoor Championships, Penn Relays, Mason-Dixon Games, Southern Conference Championships, US International Dual meets with Russia, East Germany, West Germany, Pan Africa, Pan American Games, Florida High School State Championships (30 years), Golden South Classic, Stanford University Invitational, and almost every meet at the University of Miami and University of Florida over the past 40 years, as well as many middle and high school meets through the years. Some of his numerous awards include the Horace Crowe Award for outstanding field event official by USA Track & Field Association, the Penn Relays 25 Year Service Award, Honorary Kentucky Colonel, Best Florida High School Official Award from the National Federation of Interscholastic Officials, and Distinguished Service Award from the Florida Athletic Coaches Association.
In addition to his many years as officiating, Bill has served as a clinician for individuals interested in becoming high jump officials in the state of Florida, as a production assistant for ESPN and other networks in their coverage of Track and Field events, and as a member of the Florida Governor's Council for Physical Fitness & Sports. Bill has been recognized for his outstanding service by induction into the Florida Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Sanya Richards-Ross - Track and Field
Sanya Richards-Ross, star of Sanya's Gland and Gold on WeTV, is the fastest American woman in history at 400 meters. The former Pembroke Pines resident was born in Jamaica and moved to the United States in her early teens to pursue her athletic dreams. A graduate of St Thomas Aquinas High School, she earned a silver medal in the 400 meter event and a bronze medal in the 200 meter event at the 2002 World Junior Championships. Her high school honors include being named Florida High School Athlete of the Year twice, and the Gatorade National High School Track Athlete of the Year in 2002. As a freshman at the University of Texas she became the 2003 NCAA 400 meter champion before turning pro in her sophomore year.
She was the first American woman in 28 years, and only the 2nd in history, to be crowned Olympic Champion over 400 meter at the 2012 Games in London. Surging past her competitors in the last 50 meters of the race, Richards-Ross claimed her crown as 400 meter queen in dramatic fashion. The London games also set the stage for Sanya to become one of the most decorated female track and field Olympians of all time.
Sanya has firmly solidified her place in sports history, by winning her 4th gold medal, after anchoring the 4x400 meter relay team to gold for the 3rd consecutive time, by becoming a 5-time World Champion, and by running the most sub-50-second 400 meter races in history. Though she isn't done yet. Sanya continues to train diligently towards achieving the best performances of her already decorated career, as she works to make her 4th Olympic team in 2016. After recovering from two surgeries to correct an injury that brought her season to an end early in 2013, the 2014 season has shown promise towards that goal as Sanya has returned to form on the track. Off the track, Sanya's passion is giving back. The Sanya Richards Fast Track Program provides tutoring, physical education and meals to over 700 children in her native country. Sanya resides in Austin, Texas with her husband Aaron, where she runs successful businesses in the beauty and fashion field.
Dwight Stephenson - Football
The longtime successful Fort Lauderdale business owner began his football career at Hampton High School in Virginia, where he played on a State Championship team and earned All State Honors. Upon graduation, he was awarded a football scholarship at the University of Alabama where he became an All American for the Crimson Tide. He was a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins and the 48th player selected in the 1980 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Stephenson spent much of his time on special teams while learning the rudiments of pro football offensive line play. His first start came in 1981 and he continued to start in 80 consecutive games until the 1987 players' strike ended this streak. He returned after the strike to start seven straight games before he suffered a serious knee injury. Although he tried a comeback the following season, he was forced to retire as his injury failed to respond to treatments. He earned both All-Pro and All-AFC recognition five straight years from 1983 to 1987. He was named the AFC or NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year for four consecutive years and was universally recognized as the premier center in the NFL. Stephenson was selected for five straight Pro Bowl games. He was the Dolphins offensive captain and was a major factor in the Dolphins' record of allowing the fewest quarterback sacks in the NFL for six straight years. Stephenson was the starting center in the 1982, 1984 and 1985 AFC championship games and in Super Bowls XVII and XIX. He is a member of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1998. In 1985 he received the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and in 2006 was awarded the Walter Camp Man of the Year Honor. Both of these awards recognize his contributions to public service for the benefit of the community, the country, and his fellow man as well as his impeccable reputation for integrity and dedication to our American Heritage. Dwight continues to serve our community through the foundation he created with his wife Dinah.