Fennelly: Florida Sports Hall of Fame deserves more attention – Tampabay.com
Do you know where the Florida Sports Hall of Fame is located? Did you know there was one? Or that the Hall is in its 56th year? Or that for nearly 10 of those years it was between homes, stored in boxes in a Polk County warehouse?
“The Hall has survived all sorts of years,” Florida Sports Hall of Fame executive director Wayne Hogan said. “It has survived funding and no funding. It has moved. It has been kicked out. It has been an orphan. A roller coaster. But this is something that needs to stay around.”
It’s induction time again. And with local flavor. This year’s class will be enshrined Nov. 15 at the TPepin’s Hospitality Centre in Tampa. Inductees include Jon Gruden, who helped deliver a Super Bowl champion to Tampa Bay; and Phil Esposito, who helped deliver the NHL and an eventual Stanley Cup champion. There is former Rays player Johnny Damon, who was raised in Orlando. And former Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley. And USF sailing coach Allison Jolly, a sailing gold medalist at the 1988 Olympics.
But back to that first question:
Where is it?
The Florida Sports Hall of Fame is in Davenport, where I-4 and U.S. 27 intersect in Polk County. The Hall was founded in 1961 by the Florida Sportswriters Association. Its first home was in Cypress Gardens. It then moved north to Lake City, just off I-75. You might have stopped there. Then again, maybe you didn’t. Then the Hall, at least in a physical sense, went into hibernation over a lack of funds. It was stored in that warehouse. It then moved to an Auburndale sports complex. It opened in Davenport in February.
And now it’s getting a facelift under Hall president Barry