Long talked about, the Lee County Athletic Conference Hall of Fame becomes a reality in August when the inaugural class of 36 athletes will be inducted.
The Hall of Fame was created over the past year by the Lee County School District to honor student-athletes and staff members who have made significant contributions to the 13 schools and athletic departments.
"It's important, as educators and business leaders, to highlight the positives and successes of participants and graduates of Lee County Public Schools," said Herman Williams, Lee County athletic director. "The Lee County Athletic Conference Hall of Fame is one way to do this. It's important to remember the accomplishments that our staff members and our graduates have achieved and shine the spotlight on those who deserve acknowledgement."
Ten members of the inaugural class represent the north side of the Caloosahatchee River - Cape Coral, Mariner and North Fort Myers highs.
They are: (Cape Coral) Bill Beatty, Curtis Kitchen, Colleen Healy; (Mariner) Greg Spires, Earnest Graham; (North Fort Myers) Bobbie Dewey, Deion Sanders, Chad Senior, Mike Greenwell, Jevon Kearse.
Being the first class, each high school in the county was allowed to select one inductee for every 10 years the school has been open. Schools were left to decide, based on certain criteria, who would be selected to represent them. Future classes will be chosen by a selection committee, electing five athletes and two supporters each year.
The cost to attend the induction ceremony is $150 per ticket, or $1,000 for a table of eight. Proceeds go to help defray the cost of the event and the LCAC.
Other inaugural inductees are: (Cypress Lake) Johnie Church, Jenny Schuller, Charles Griffin, Donnie Ellis; (Dunbar) Robert Green, Melvin Smallwood Morgan, Clarence "Chuck" Mims, Walt Wesley, Thomas Watkins; (Fort Myers) Coach Sam Sirianni, Terry Jo Myers, Jammi German, Eric Riley, Luiza Ramos, Derek Weatherford, Joe Renfroe, Matt Markowski, Pat Putnam, Lamar Payne; (Estero) Anthony Henry, Catherine Cartwright-Tumbleson; (Riverdale) Roni Hipp, Sammy Edwards, Donna Williams, Karl Engel; (Lehigh) Robyn Anglickis.
Cape Coral High - Bill Beatty, first athletic director who developed the first programs and was one of five committee members to sign a bank note to build the football stadium as well as design logos for six schools and the LCAC. Curtis Kitchen, class of 1982, played basketball at Cape, USF and NBA Seattle Supersonics. Colleen Healy, class of 2004, swimmer, two-time state champion, Rotary Scholar Athlete of the Year, swam at Florida and was three-time NCAA All American.
Fort Myers High - Sam Sirianni, football coach 1969-2002, golf coach and athletic director. Terry Jo Myers, class of 1980, golf, won three LPGA golf titles. Jammi German, class of 1993, football/track, all american at Miami, third-round draftee of NFL Atlanta Falcons 1998. ERic Riley, class of 1980, track-football, all american. Luiza Ramos, class of 1991, volleyball, all american. Derek Weatherford, class of 1990, swimming three-time state champion. Joe Renfroe, class of 1941, football. Matt Markowski, class of 2001, wrestling three-time state champion. Pat Putnam, class of 1972, baseball, eight years Major League Baseball pitcher. Lamar Payne, class of 1957, football & baseball.
Mariner High - Greg Spires, class of 1993, football & track, FSU football, NFL New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl champion. Earnest Graham, class of 1998, three-sport athlete, FHSAA 6A Player of the Year, Gatorade all american, four-time basketball district champion, three elite eights & basketball state runner-up, Florida football, NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
North Fort Myers High - Bobbie Dewey, PE teacher 1969-1988, first female athletic director (1988-1998) in Lee County second in Florida, drove girls' varsity athletics programs. Deion Sanders, class of 1985, three-sport athlete, FSU football, baseball & track, Jim Thorpe Award, Florida Sports Hall of Fame, FSU Hall of Fame, eight-time NFL Pro Bowl, two-time Super Bowl champion, MLB Atlanta Braves World Series player (1992), only player in history to play in both Super Bowl and World Series, first player to hit home run and score NFL touchdown in same week, 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame. Chad Senior, class of 1993, three-sport athlete, Rotary Scholar Athlete of the Year, George Washington Univ. swimmer, two-time Olympian (6th 2000, 13th 2004), three-time world champion, four-time World Cup medalist, 2004 Pan Am Games silver medalist. Mike Greenwell, class of 1982, baseball, two-time All-Star with Boston Red Sox, Silver Slugger Award, three-time Red Sox MVP. Jevon Kearse, class of 1995, football, high school all american, Florida football, NFL Tennessee Titans & Philadelphia Eagles, Defensive Rookie of the Year, three-time Pro Bowl.