2020 MHS Athletic Hall of Honor Inductees
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Class of 1942 - Walter "Kay" Jamison - Student Athlete
Kay Jamison graduated from Bradenton High School in 1942 when athletic teams were called the Bradenton Golden Wave. The 1941 team struggled under a new coach and a new system to learn and after a few weeks, the new coach was drafted into the Air Corps during WWII. Discouraged but not defeated, the Bradenton eleven was unstoppable and the largest group of fans to ever follow teams both at home and out of town cheered them on.
Kay was an outstanding athlete achieving the following: Lettered all 4 years in basketball and was All South Florida Conference for 3 years; lettered all 4 years in football and named All South Florida Conference as a senior; lettered all 4 years in baseball, was All South Florida Conference in his junior and senior years and All State his senior year as a member of the 1942 State Championship team. During his senior year, the basketball, football and baseball teams were undefeated in conference play. Kay was highlighted in the 1942 yearbook (named Macohi then) as “Most Athletic” and it also stated “the way to spell athlete is K-A-Y”.
In addition to numerous clubs, Kay found time to serve as Class President in his Freshman and Sophomore years; served on Student Council for 3 years and was President in his senior year. (From a graduating class of 137, 15 members of the Class of 1942 are still living and one of the ladies recently said “Kay was such a good athlete and so nice and handsome that all the girls were in love with him – some still trying to get his attention at class reunions through the years” ) Kay attended UF on an athletic scholarship where he started and lettered as a freshman on both the football & basketball varsity squads. Five games into the 1942 basketball season, Kay, along with many of his teammates and fellow students, was drafted during WWII. During the 4 years he was serving his Country in the United States Coast Guard, the Los Angeles Rams selected him in the 1946 NFL Pro Football Draft and the NY Giants & Pittsburgh Steelers sent letters of interest. However, he returned to UF and while preparing for the 1946 football & basketball seasons, he contracted tuberculosis and his athletic aspirations came to an abrupt end. He continued his successful life by marrying his high school sweetheart and together they raised five children. Kay, along with his brother started a retail furniture business that he owned & operated for 43 years. Kay Jamison passed away in 2010, however, several members of the Jamison family are here with us. Kay was nominated by his son Scott Jamison, who will accept the award on behalf of the Jamison Family.
Class of 1960 - Ryan "Buster" Hardy - Student Athlete
Ryan graduated from Manatee High in the Class of 1960. He was Captain of the most successful basketball team the school had seen in 20 years. A team that was picked to finish last in District 6 Championship but entered the last game of the season tied for first and defeated favored Fort Myers. He made two free throws after the game had ended with a final score of 51-50 and was named named MVP. Ryan was also Captain of the baseball team with a batting average of .333 leading them to the District Championship and being named to the All District Team. After graduation, he went to Florida Southern College on an athletic scholarship playing point guard in basketball and 3rd base in baseball. He was selected as Captain, All Conference and All Regional. Ryan was selected 3 times to Florida Southern’s All Time Best Team over a 20 year span. He signed with Kansas City Athletics Baseball team after his senior year at Florida Southern and played in the Appalachian and Florida State League with a high batting average of .315.
During the Vietnam War, Ryan was drafted into the military in 1968, attended officer training and flight training school but an injury resulted in an honorable discharge just one year later. He returned to work at Florida Southern as Head Trainer for varsity sports and earned his airline transport pilot license while working. He started a 25 year flying career and flying career and was flying for the Dallas Cowboy Conglomerate throughout the United States, Latin & South America, Canada & Mexico. Although he was known by everyone in high school as Buster, when announcing from the cockpit that the pilot flying them was named “Buster” didn’t seem impressive to the President of the conglomerate. They were flying United States Senators, Premiers and Presidents of foreign countries so the conglomerate president asked Buster to use his given name. Since Buster disliked his given name, his wife suggested he change it to Ryan since her favorite movie was Love Story starring Ryan O’Neal. Thus the Alvin Owen “Buster” Hardy known to all in high school and college was now Ryan Hardy making his boss happy which is always important. Now here in Bradenton for this event, he will still be known as “Buster” to his high school classmates.
Ryan got involved with Krav Maga of American and worldwide earning his black belt and his license to teach. Krav Maga is the Israeli Military Hand to Hand Combat System that teaches an aggressive & effective style of fighting for the military. He opened his first facility in Round Rock, Texas in 1999 where the website promises their kickboxing classes will help you shed 1,000 calories per hour. Ryan was nominated by his wife, Shari, who is with us tonight along with several members of his family, two of his MHS basketball teammates and friends.
Class of 1964 - Richard Earl Trapp - Student Athlete
If you lived in Manatee County in the early 60’s and saw Richard Trapp on the football field, you would remember him. Richard was the shortstop on the 1963 State Championship Baseball Team and went more than two seasons without committing a fielding error, was a guard on the basketball team that won the Western Conference. Despite suffering from asthma, he decided to go out for the football team his senior year. Coach Bob Stewart made him the backup quarterback behind a player who led the team to the Western Conference Championship the previous season. Richard sat the bench until the starter was injured in the 5th game and in half a season scored 13 touchdowns.
Richard signed a football scholarship with UF and set a Southeastern Conference record for 63 passes for 872 yards in a season (1966), was twice named ALL-SEC and in 1967 was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year. As a starter in his junior year, his hands helped Coach Spurrier win the 1966 Heisman Trophy. He also played baseball at UF and led the team in hitting, was named ALL-SEC shortstop in 1967 and 1968.
Richard was first pick in the 3rd round of the 1968 NFL Draft signing with the Buffalo Bills and played professional football with 4 teams over 4 seasons. Richard was a 2nd round pick by the NY Yankees and played in the same infield with Hal McRae, Darrell Chaney & Pat Corrales during a season with the Cincinnati Read in the Florida Instructional League. Richard also won three adult age group tennis national championships and was pool champion at University of Florida where he played the world champion Willie Mosconi in a pool match. He was given a pearl inlaid pool cue by Willie.
We regret that Richard was unable to be with us tonight to personally accept this incredible honor.
David Neal "Dave" Bristow - Contributor
If you didn’t know Dave Bristow, you missed the opportunity to know a man of integrity who always had the right words whether in his role as Public Information Officer for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for more than 30 years or as the play-by-play voice of Manatee High football for over 33 years. Dave wasn’t a graduate of MHS but was an ardent advocate for the Hurricanes throughout the community and his voice will forever be remembered on the Hurricane Radio Station. He could deliver the message calmly at a horrific crime scene or excitedly in a press box which was a rare gift. Dave graduated from University of Florida with a degree in broadcasting, worked in television in Sarasota before finding his niche in the Manatee County Sheriff’s office as the Public Information Officer. Many times, Dave would announce the Canes plays from the press box at Hawkins Stadium and leave for Gainesville immediately after the game to watch the Gators the next day. Some of his highlights were covering the broadcast when the Canes won over top-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas in 2009 and five state championships! Dave helped raise $2,000,000. for the Canes video board and, along with the radio broadcast, started video streaming the games for those who weren’t able to attend. The 2011 state championship game had 27,000 viewers – the most on record for a high school game.
On September 21st of 2018, Dave was the announcer for Manatee’s big 31-0 win over Tampa Steinbrenner on Friday night and the next day the Gators defeated Tennessee – How much better could it get? No one knew at the end of the Canes game on Friday night that his signature sign off “Til next time, so long everyone” would be his last. Dave unexpectedly passed away at 59 years old on Monday, September 24th, shocking the community and all who knew and loved him.
Dave’s widow, Lisa and their two daughters, Cara & Countney, all Manatee graduates, are with us tonight along with other family members, fellow employees and friends. Dave was nominated by Bowen Summer and Gene Brown will be accepting the award for the Bristow family tonight.
E. James "Jim" Forssell - Contributor
Jim Forssell graduated from Samford University in 1959 with a Bachelors in Music Education and the University of Iowa in 1960 with a Master of Arts in Voice & Choral Literature and served his country with the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. After graduation, he began his teaching career at Manatee, was Chairman of the Music Department for 33 years and retired after 34 years of dedicated services. During his tenure, he expanded the original music program by starting several new classes; music theory, class voice, choraliers, male chorus, guitar and piano classes. In addition, he taught the Girls’ Glee Club and the Manatee Singers. He began directing Broadway productions which were performed in the Davis Auditorium and when he retired, he had directed 20 Broadway shows. In January, 2003, the music building at MHS was named for him.
Jim was inducted into the Florida Vocal Association Hall of Fame, was a member of numerous music associations and directed the Florida All-State Chorus twice as well as the Alabama State Chorus. He often served as clinician in vocal and choral workshops throughout the Southeast. Jim served as his Church Choir Director for 40 years as well as serving as Minister of Music for many local Churches. We also knew him as the Voice of the Hurricanes at Hawkins Stadium for 47 years.
He was dearly loved by his students as was evident on the number of likes, shares and comments on our Alumni Association Face Book posts about him. Many memories were shared including the following;
At the beginning of my freshman year at Manatee High School in 1980, I wore an Iowa Hawkeyes shirt. While waiting in the music rotunda (South Campus) for my band class, Mr. Forssell, noticing my shirt, asked if I was an Iowa Hawkeye fan. I replied yes. In typical Forssell fashion, he said, "Good. That means we'll get along...for the most part.
I was a sophomore band student when JF tapped me to join Girls Glee. I said, “I really can’t sing”. He said, “if you can read music, I’ll teach you the rest”.
He took the music department on a bus trip to Neshameny, PA. When we opened our performance he asked the audience to please stand for our national anthem....... we sang Dixie. It was a great time and no one took offense. It was a good “prank” and we sang it slow and with feelings and pride.
I remember his black coffee with 2 fingers of sugar!
I remember asking if we could go to Shake Pit and he always told us if we got caught, he knew nothing. But if we didn’t, to bring him a peanut butter hot fudge milkshake!
Who else could get football players to sing in a chorus and enjoy it?
We all have that teacher we never forget and Jim Forssell was that person for many MHS students. He was honorable, kind, patient and truly cared about his students leaving a great legacy they’ll never forget. Established in 1993, a $1,000.00 music scholarship has been awarded each year to an MHS graduating senior from the James Forssell Scholarship Fund. Jim’s primary objective was to install a love of music that his students could enjoy throughout their lives. It was his hope that this scholarship fund would help someone become a music teacher who could do the same.
Jim Forssell passed away on Christmas Day in 2012 and we’re joined by his widow, Mrs. Helen Forssell, their 3 children. Jim, Jr., Julie & Joanie and several other family members.
He was nominated by his son, Jim Forssell, Jr. who will be accepting the award.
Phillip Upton - Coach/Contributor
Phillip Upton, being inducted as a Coach/Contributor is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute, founded in 1839 and is the oldest, state supported military college in the United States. VMI has produced leaders and individuals whose daily lives reflect the integrity, fairness and appreciation for the value of hard work and those values are reflected in Phil Upton. At VMI, Phil was the Captain of the football team and earned 8 varsity letters in 7 semesters.
Phil came from Marietta, GA. to Manatee as the Head Wrestling Coach in 1978 and found he had a challenge with a team that had little experience and only 2 varsity wrestlers coming back. Athletes from other sports were recruited to try wrestling when their sport was finished for that year to try to build a team. A wrestler is a unique individual who must represent a blend of intensity, discipline, tenacity, strength, fierce dedication and an unbelievable high threshold of pain. Enduring a wrestling match forces the individual to bring the most out of his physical, mental and spiritual capacities to reach his ultimate goal – the pin. Don Keller & Ernie Gilmore were on that original team and are here with us to honor their coach tonight. Phil’s goal was to try to build the wrestling program for the coming years. In the last 47 years, Manatee has produced 20 State Wrestling Champions and 7 of those were won by young men coached by Phillip Upton during his 12 years as MHS Head Wrestling Coach. During that time, his teams won 75 matches - quite an accomplishment considering what he had when he started. In addition to teaching many young men the art of wrestling, he taught them life skills that helped make them successful today and always gave them encouragement. Phil also coached freshman football for 6 years, was the Jr. Exchange Sponsor and taught English. He has continued to volunteer as a wrestling coach for Andy Gugliemini, who was one of his wrestlers while in high school and has worked with Gug as a football referee for 10 years.
While not all wrestled when Phil was head coach, we have five State Wrestling Champions with us tonight. Dan Gilmore, J. D. Boardwine, 2 time champion Thierry Chau, 2 time champion Bobby Latessa and 3 time champion Brian Skelton
Phil & Terri Upton have been married 44 years and have two children, J.T. & Diane who are both with us tonight and 3 grandchildren. We received 47 reservations for this event indicating they were attending in support of Phil Upton.
In 1978, a tradition was started when one of the mothers started bringing homemade fudge for the wrestlers after they weighed in making her very popular in the gym. To carry on that tradition, a container of that homemade fudge is here tonight for “old times sake”
Phil was nominated by Coach Andy Gugliemini.
1956 Western Conference Co-Championship Football Team
The Western Conference, formed in 1953, was rated as one of the toughest loops in the state consisting of Class AA teams from Tampa, St. Pete, Bradenton & Sarasota. During the season, Manatee was rated the number 2 team in the state and remained in the top ten throughout the year. Manatee held 2nd place in the conference in 1954, first in 1955, tied for first in 1956 and football fans were as excited as possible about the Canes.
After many players, who played on the 1955 team, returned to the 1956 season they were a year older, a year wiser and there was no doubt that what was in 1955, would be in 1956. Manatee was 9-0-1 in 1955, the Hurricanes were 8-0-2 in 1956 with all games being conference games. Both teams were unbeaten and football was king in Manatee County. The lone blemish of the 1956 team was back to back mid-season ties with Tampa Hillsborough and St. Petersburg. Those ties forced the Canes to settle for a tie with Hillsborough for the Western Conference Championship. Both offense and defense were the defining traits of this team as they scored a season high 283 points while allowing only 50 and polling in the top ten at season’s end. Several players were selected for all star honors at the conference, state and south levels.
During those years, Coach Wheeler Leeth, who was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor in 2016, had a 24 game unbeaten streak that ended in 1957 when Tampa Plant beat Manatee 13-7. Asst. Coach Cecil “Hootie” Ingram went on to become the Athletic Director at University of Alabama. The team roster listed 41 players with less than half the players still living today. With us tonight are 3 players from the 1956 team, Bud Parent, Billy Johnson and Bill Howard with many other players wanting to be here but hesitant to travel at this time. Will the players join us up front and Bill Howard will accept the honor and speak for the team.
1997/98 Girls Soccer Team
The evolution of a dynasty is such that championships don’t appear overnight. With girl’s soccer at Manatee only a couple years old, the 1997/1998 Girls Soccer Team was led by a dynamic head coach, Paul Palmateer, who instilled in them a work ethic of excellence and their goal each year was to win no less than 25 games. Soccer became their life and the girls practiced every day after school at G. T. Bray or behind the stadium on the practice field. The main focus of their practices was conditioning for the playoffs. A newspaper article quotes Coach Palmateer as telling the girls “No guys, no cars, no jobs, go to Church on Sundays - those distractions will interfere with your team goals and sometimes people get their priorities mixed up – by following those rules, you’ll have less distractions and can focus on your skills”.
His method worked - The team record in 1996-1997 was 27-2 and in 1997-1998 it was 26-2 ranking 7th in the nation, 2nd in 6A state ranking and set the tone for soccer success for the school moving forward. The team enjoyed the support of their families and fans who cheered them on at their games and many are here with us tonight. They called them the Her-icanes and with 11 teammates in the starting lineup, 8 players were named to the All-State Team, Florida Regional Team and All Area Team. Those players went on to play in both Division I and Division II schools including Auburn, Ole Miss, USF, Lander University & UCF. The players with us tonight will join us up front and Coach Palmateer will be speaking for them.