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Jacksonville to host Florida Sports Hall of Fame
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Jacksonville to host Florida Sports Hall of Fame

Jacksonville to host Florida Sports Hall of Fame
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Jacksonville to host Florida Sports Hall of Fame

One of Jacksonville’s greats will be honored just a short walk away from the arena he built his reputation.

Former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor is among the 10-member class of inductees in to the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.  This year’s ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial Arena April 27.

Six of the inductees have close ties to Jacksonville, including Chipper Jones (baseball), Mark McCumber (PGA), Brian Gottfried (tennis), Corky Rogers (football coach), and LeeRoy Yarbrough (NASCAR).  In total, nine sports are represented among the ten total inductees.

The Florida Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 215 members.

Here are the inductee bios, written by the City of Jacksonville. 

Class of 2013 Biographies

Brooke Bennett  (Swimming)

Brooke is a native of Tampa, who began taking swimming lessons at the age of three, and earned the nickname “waterbabi.” But it was when she was 16 that she became known to the world as the sweetheart of the 1996 Summer Olympics, earning a gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle over Janet Evans. She added gold medals in 2000 at Sydney in both 400 and 800-meter freestyle races. That year she was also named World America Swimmer of the Year. Brooke won 14 total U.S. swimming championships and earned her photo on the cover of a Wheaties box. She is a reporter for Bright House Sports Network with a focus on high school sports. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2010.

Pete Clemons (Rodeo)

Pete Clemons is a long-time cattleman in the state of Florida. A member of the Florida Department of Agriculture Hall of Fame and the recipient of the 2009 Florida Folk Heritage Award, he was a rodeo star for 25 years. Nine times during that career, he won the Best all Around Cowboy title at the Silver Spur Rodeo in Kissimmee.  He competed throughout the U.S., Canada and Cuba, and twice traveled to South America as an Ambassador for U.S. Rodeo. Pete is also a former chair of the Florida Beef Council.

Brian Gottfried (Tennis)

Gottfried, a Miami native, won 14 National Junior Amateur titles, and was a two-time All-American at Trinity University, becoming the 1972 NCAA singles and doubles runner-up. Professionally, he was ranked No. 3 in 1977 in singles, and in 1975 and 1976, was ranked No. 1 in doubles with Raul Ramirez. A five-time Davis Cup team member, he won the 1984 ATP Sportsmanship Award and was elected ATP president in 1987. From 1989-96, he was the ATP Tour’s director of tennis, and is now the GM of the Ponte Vedra Beach Inn & Club facility.

Tim Hardaway (Basketball)

Hardaway played 15 years in the NBA for the Warriors, Heat, Nuggets, Mavericks and Pacers. He was a five-time all-star (twice with the Heat) and was named first team all-NBA and an MVP finalist after leading the Heat to their then-finest season in 1996-97, when he averaged 20.3 points and 8.6 assists per game. He finished his career with more than 15,000 points and 7,000 assists.    

Chipper Jones (Baseball)

A native of Florida and graduate of The Bolles School, Jones was the first overall pick in the 1990 Major League Baseball Draft by the Atlanta Braves. He spent his entire 19-year career with the Braves, compiling a .303 lifetime batting average, 468 home runs and 1623 RBI. He is the only switch-hitter with a better than .300 lifetime average and 400 home runs. Chipper participated in 12 postseasons, playing in 21 championship series. In his rookie year of 1995 he helped the Braves capture the World Series. In 1999, he was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player. He was also an eight-time All-Star. He founded the Chipper Jones Foundation, which helps refurbish youth ballparks in Florida and Georgia.  

Mark McCumber (Golf)

McCumber was the youngest winner of Jacksonville’s JAGA Championship in 1965 at age 14. He won more than 15 mini-tour events before earning his PGA Tour card in 1978. McCumber won 10 Tour events in his 24-year career, including two Doral-Eastern Opens, the 1988 Players Championship, and the 1994 Tour Championship. He has played on two World Cup teams and one Ryder Cup team, and now plays on the Champions Tour. He has also made a significant impact on golf course design with Mark McCumber and Associates, the design arm of McCumber Golf.

Gabrielle Reece (Volleyball)

Reece, literally a model athlete, competed in volleyball at Florida State University where she set school season records for solo and total blocks. The 6-foot-3 Reece, a native of California who moved to St. Petersburg at age 7, was inducted into Florida State's Athletics Hall of Fame. Reece was named the nation's Most Inspiring Collegiate Athlete in 1990. Reece competed five seasons on the four-person Pro Beach Volleyball tour where she was twice named the tour's Top Offensive Player. Reece started modeling in 1989 while she was still competing in volleyball at Florida State. Her face has appeared on the covers of such magazines as Women’s Sports & Fitness, Outside, Shape, Self, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Volleyball and LIFE.

Corky Rogers (Coaching)

Charles “Corky” Rogers has amassed more high school football victories than any other coach in Florida. His 325-65-1 career record places him in the top 20 active coaches and top 50 all-time coaches nationally.  A graduate of Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, where he was a three-sport star playing on the 1960 state champion football team and 1961 state baseball championship team. He played for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech and briefly for Don Shula with the Baltimore Colts. He coached at Lee and won 10 straight district titles from 1977-1986. He took over as coach at The Bolles Scholl in 1989 and has won seven state titles with two runner-up finishes. Among Florida coaches with more than 300 wins, Rogers is the only coach with fewer than 100 losses. 

Fred Taylor (Football)

A true Floridian, Taylor is a native of Pahokee, played in college at the University of Florida, and spent most of his pro career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Pahokee he was recognized as one of the “100 greatest players of the first 100 years” of Florida High School Football by the FHSAA.  He gained 3075 yards with 31 TDs for the Gators and was a first-team All-American his senior year. The 9th pick overall by the Jaguars in the ’99 draft, he gained over 11,000 yards, 15th on the all-time NFL list, making him the Jags all-time leading rusher. He also scored a total of 74 touchdowns. Fred was the second player inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars, along with Tony Boselli.

LeeRoy Yarbrough (Auto Racing)

Yarbrough, a Jacksonville native, began NASCAR racing in 1960. In 1969, he won a 300-mile modified race in Daytona and won the Daytona 500 the next day. He also won the Rebel 400, World 600, Firecracker 400, Dixie 500, Southern 500 and American 500 on 1969. He was the first driver to record achieve a “grand slam” by winning on each of the South’s five super speedways in the same year. He was Ford’s Man of the Year and the American Driver of the Year in 1969, and is a member of the Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame.

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