Sports, to many of us, plays a huge role in
creating a sense of community, learning about
the importance of discipline and teaching people
about working with others as a team. — Rick Hatcher
Jones Jr., Tim Hardaway, Tony Dungy, Zach Thomas, Jeff
Conine, Tim Tebow and Pat Williams, to name a few. The
hall of fame members includes coaches, players, broadcasters
Nominations are accepted from the public, the board of directors
and hall of fame members. Those who are eligible for
enshrinement go through a rigorous vetting and voting process
that includes board members and selected hall members.
“Every year the hall of fame holds an enshrinement ceremony
for its new members,” Hatcher said. “We move it to a
different part of the state every year and it’s a fun celebration
and a great way to honor some of our state’s sports stars.”
STATE PRODUCES MANY STARS
For years, the state of Florida has produced star athletes,
coaches and other sports-related personnel. With such excellent
athletic programs in many schools and colleges, young
kids have the opportunity to thrive in many different sports.
It comes as no surprise that the hall of fame is able to induct
such a high number of members each year.
Normally, the hall adds between 10 and 12 new members annually,
but for this year’s ceremony there will be several more.
“Due to COVID in 2020, we will be holding the enshrinement
ceremonies jointly, for both 2020 and 2021 inductees,”
Hatcher said. “The last five years of enshrinement have had
incredible inductees and this year will be no different.”
The class of 2020 includes former New York Yankee star Alex
“A-Rod” Rodriguez, golfer Tiger Woods, coach Pat Riley of the
Miami Heat and former Miami Dolphin defensive end Jason
Taylor. The Class of 2021 will be announced later this year.
“This year’s class is representative of six different sports
with careers spanning from the 1970s to present day,” Hatcher
said. “This is one of the strongest classes we’ve had.”
Hatcher, who is also president and CEO of Play Treasure
Coast Sports Tourism, knew that having the hall of fame in
Port St. Lucie would be helpful in drawing more sports fans
“This is a wonderful area, I mean you’ve got the New York
Mets spring training complex at Clover Park, PGA Golf Club,
the US Sailing Center and the MIDFLORIDA Event Center,”
Hatcher said. “There was no denying this would be a perfect
spot for the hall of fame and we had city officials onboard
from the get-go.”
ANNUAL GOLF TOURNEY
Sports celebrities will join golfers to tee off at the 4th annual
celebrity golf tournament at the PGA Golf Course’s
Ryder Course June 18-19. Honorary tournament chairman
will be Juan “Chi Chi” Rodriguez who won eight titles on the
PGA Tour and was the first player on the Senior PGA Tour to
win the same event in three consecutive years.
Rodriguez, who lives in Port St. Lucie, was enshrined to the
Several displays are dedicated to a particular hall of fame member or team.
This one contains memorabilia from the 1972-1974 Miami Dolphins, including
several items from the 1972 team, which is the only NFL team to win the
Super Bowl with a perfect season.
Florida Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. Other hall of fame members
and sports celebrities scheduled to appear include Gary
Sheffield Class of 2018, Lou Piniella Class of 1977, Johnny
Damon Class 2016 and Nat Moore Class of 1998.
It doesn’t just hold enshrinements and run the hall, it is
also very much involved in sports activities, education and
fitness awareness for our state’s youth and adults alike. It
is part of a big campaign to help end and raise awareness
toward childhood obesity and diabetes.
“It’s not just about watching a player throw or hit a ball
back and forth,” Hatcher said. “Sports, to many of us, plays
a huge role in creating a sense of community, learning about
the importance of discipline and teaching people about working
with others as a team.”
The group has raised close to $1 million for its many
programs and charities like Shriners Hospitals for Children,
Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches and Boys and Girls Clubs
across the state. All funds raised at the tournament will benefit
the hall’s children’s charities
The hall of fame is open Wednesday through Sunday from
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. E
18 Port St. Lucie Magazine