To find the most talented premier athletes in the country then look no place further than South Florida. It’s not a secret to the rest of the country anymore because when it comes to athletics South Florida is king.
There are so many talented athletes from the Tri-County area (Dade, Broward & Palm Beach) that have gone on to have professional careers that it’s commonplace. Each draft night is a local athlete’s homecoming so to speak. Additionally, even a selective few who have become professionals in their respective sports have even been gracefully selected to enter into their respective sport’s hall of fame.
The major North American sports leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) all have hall of fames for their players. Even colleges have hall of fames for their former athletes. But what if someone decided to create a hall of fame for the local and talented athletes in South Florida?
Under the guidance of the Leadership Prep Foundation Inc., as well as Mr. Ike Fullard, Craig Curry and Anthony Witherspoon, residents of the area can now say hello to the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame.
In South Florida there’s no sport that’s more popular than football. It’s deeper than a sport in South Florida, football is a religion in the area. It’s not a surprise that the headliner of the first annual class is none other than the renowned Nathaniel “Traz” Powell.
“He is the architect of all of those legendary teams and we’re going to focus our efforts with his accomplishments with this first class of inductees.” said Ike Fullard.
If you’re under the age of 30 you’re most likely familiar with the Powell’s name because of Miami Dade College’s football stadium which is named after him. The stadium hosts the biggest high school games weekly and is also one of the most hollowed places to play for athletes in South Florida.
Before Powell’s name was attached to the stadium, he created one of the greatest high school football dynasty’s that the country has ever seen.
Powell was the head coach at George Washington Carver Senior High School who won nine state championships under his leadership. Because of the way that his teams competed and won, Powell went on to become one of the most well respected coaches in the pre-integration Florida Interscholastic Athletic Association. Furthermore before his coaching career Powell was also the first African-American athlete to score a touchdown in the legendary Orange Bowl stadium.
Because of his intelligence and work ethic Powell earned himself an incredible record of 167-37-3 in his entire high school coaching career which spanned over 21 years from 1949 to 1969. Following Powell’s death in 1980, the stadium was named in his honor in 1988.
Now less than a three decades later Powell is going to add yet another accomplishment with his namesake. Powell’s now going to get recognized as the first member inducted into the Coconut Grove Hall of Fame. Moreover, Powell’s players during his state championship run are also joining him into the hall of fame. There are 32 people who are going to enter into immortality.
Some of the notable players that are entering into the Coconut Grove Sports Hall of Fame are Joe Taylor, a cornerback who had an eight-year career in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. Likewise Neal Colzie, a defensive back who played in the NFL for nine-years with the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Colzie also captured a Super Bowl victory in 1977 before passing away at the age of 48 with a heart attack.
Moreover Ike Fullard is also getting getting inducted. Fullard was as a quarterback for George Washington Carver and is now a retired college football and basketball coach that lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He’s also a 12 year veteran junior olympic AAUSSA coach, as well as an entrepreneur.
“We were impacted by a lot of big decisions that were made that impacted our career path. I’m glad we were able to stay on that path and go on to college and become successful at obtaining our degrees” said Fullard.
On behalf of all the staff at the Westside Gazette and the community in South Florida we would like to say congratulations to everyone who was nominated into the hall of fame.