2021 MHS Athletic Hall of Honor Inductees
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2021 Class - Athletic Hall of Honor
Lawrence H. "Bud Fortson - Class of 1947 - Student Athlete - Football
Johnny Lawrence "Larry" Walker - Class of 1958 - Student Athlete - Track/Football
Charles William Willey - Class of 1963 - Student Athlete - Football/Baseball
Kelly Joy Anderson Onanian - Class of 1993 - Student Athlete - Swimming
Tracy Waiters - Class of 1984 - Student Athlete - Football
Dr. Owen McCarthy - Contributor
Stephen Olsen - Coach - Track/Football/Basketball/Softball/Cross Country
2001-2002 Men's Soccer Team
Lawrence H. "Bud" Fortson - BHS Class of 1947
Inducted as Student Athlete - Football
Lawrence Howard "Bud" Fortson, Jr., a graduate of Bradenton High School Class of 1947, and a native of Manatee County, was nominated by Donna Fortson & Teresa Fortson Cook. He is being posthumously inducted as a Student Athlete for football.
His graduation was a little different than today as 13 United States War Veterans were welcomed home from WWII and were among the 62 boys and 64 girls in the school auditorium who graduated at the close of Memorial Day. Bud was Captain of the 1946 Golden Wave Football Team and threw 17 touchdown passes to lead the last Bradenton High School team to an 8-2 season. The name was changed to Manatee County High School after the end of the school year in 1947. No other quarterback in school history had thrown for more than 12 touchdowns in a single season and that record stood for over four decades.
Although the Golden Wave did not capture the conference championship, the football team of 1946 was long remembered as the most potent and aggressive team that Bradenton has had in many years. They loved and welcomed their coach, Joe Rousseau back from serving in the Navy during WWII.
The coach and team had more than opposing teams to worry about that season since skunks had been sabotaging the football field. The theory was that they only come out at night when the moonlight is bright as it was for a week in late October of 1946. Once it was dark again, the invasion stopped and the team could once again focus on opposing teams.
Bud was also a member of the First Team, All South, Conference Football Team, a member of the “B” Club, History Club, Key Club, and voted “most attractive” by his classmates. After graduation from Bradenton High School, Bud went on to graduate from Georgia Tech, where he played intermural sports, with a BS Degree in Engineering/Industrial Management. After college, Bud returned to Manatee County where he was a Manatee County Commissioner for 12 years and Chairman in 4 of those years. He was a member and director of Kiwanis, Manatee County Fair Association, United Way, Bradenton Boy’s Club, Manatee County Housing Finance Authority, Sarasota/Bradenton Airport Authority and Chairman in 1975 and a Deacon in his church.
Johnny Lawrence "Larry Walker - MCHS Class of 1958
Inducted as Student Athlete - Football
Nominated by Lola Foy and Jeff Thomas, Larry Walker is a graduate of MCHS Class of 1958 and is being inducted as a student athlete in track and football. His was the last class of Manatee County High School with the school name changing to Manatee High School in 1959. While still at Bradenton Jr. High, Larry was a standout runner and a pleasant surprise to the team when he entered Manatee County High.
As a sophomore, Larry had already broken the MCHS 220-yard dash record, ran the 100 in 10.8, the 220 in 24.2, the 440 in 55.9, high jumped 5-1 ½ and pole vaulted 8-11 ½ while at Bradenton Jr. High. In his senior year, Larry served as captain of the track team and was called “dash man” as he led the team to victory in 1958.
Larry was a member of the 1956 Western Conference Co-Championship team that was inducted into the Hall of Honor last year and was fullback and Co-Captain of the 1957 team that compiled 190 points to their opponents 103 and finished the season in 3rd place in the Western Conference. A Bradenton Herald article states that Larry was not only busy on the track and football field but could always be found at sock hops in the school gym, at every Saturday night dance at the Bradenton Teen Club and was known as the school heartthrob.
Life was simpler in Bradenton in the 50’s and after high school, Larry enlisted in the United States Navy and served honorably for 4 years before marrying, starting a family and moving to North Carolina where he is now President of Walker Builders, Inc.
Charles William Willey - MHS Class of 1963
Inducted as Student Athlete - Football/Baseball
Charles William Willey was nominated by Jill Hershfield, is a graduate of MHS Class of 1963 and is being inducted as a student athlete for football and baseball. Charles was a member of the 1962 Western Conference Championship Football and Baseball Teams. On the football team, he played defensive back his first 2 years and defensive back, running back and quarterback his final year.
Near the end of the 1961 football season, the ‘Canes were playing in St. Pete against Northeast High Vikings. The ‘Canes were leading 20-6 and the Vikings were on the ‘Canes 5 yard line. On the final play, the NorthEast quarterback threw a sideline pass to a Viking receiver and the fans sat in disbelief as Charles intercepted the pass and began his long run to the endzone. When the horn sounded signifying the end of the game, the play had not been completed yet. Not realizing the game wasn’t really over, an MHS cheerleader started running out on the field to congratulate Charles who was running toward the endzone trailed by four Northeast players. Fortunately, Charles cut to the left and the cheerleader never got to “throw the block” she looked poised and ready for.
On the baseball team, Charles played infield and pitched and was All Conference in 1963 while helping the team with the 1963 State Championship. The baseball team was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Honor in the Inaugural Class of 2016. He also played on Post 24 American Legion team for 8 years and was a member of the Legions 1962 State Championship Team.
After graduation in 1963, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds and played minor league baseball for 2 years. Charles graduated from University of Georgia with a BA in Advertising Public Relations in 1968 and finished his MA program in Communications at the University of Wisconsin in 1980. Charles entered the United States Army in 1969 where he proudly served for 23 years retiring in 1992 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In Germany he was a Pershing 1A battery Commander and a primary planning officer for the deployment of Pershing II nuclear missiles in West Germany. The successful deployment led to the signing of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987. Returning to the states, he served at the Pentagon and at Ft. McPherson, GA where he was a public information officer for Army Central Command. After retirement, Charles was a spokesperson for Georgia Department of Veterans Service and Georgia Department of Revenue.
Charles was notified that he had been chosen for induction into the 2021 Athletic Hall of Honor on 10/20/2020 and we’re very happy we were able to speak to him and share the good news before his death just a few days later.
Tracy Reynard Waiters - MHS Class of 1984
Inducted as Student Athlete - Football
Tracy is a graduate of MHS Class of 1984 and was a 2 year starter for the Hurricanes. In his senior year he was a star at MHS leading the team with 22 touchdowns, 136 points and 1,172 yards as a member of the 1983 Class 4A State Championship Team. The team brought home the first State Championship title and was inducted into MHS Athletic Hall of Honor in 2016.
In the early years, the highest level a team could reach was Western Conference Championship It almost didn’t happen - Coach Kinnan needed the best athlete he could find to play middle linebacker and thought he found him in Tracy. But Kinnan missed the punch Tracy added to the offense and moved him back for the 1983 season opener against Bayshore. That night, Tracy lost 3 fumbles and received an ultimatum from Kinnan who told him if he fumbled again, that would be the last time he ever touched the ball. Tracy quickly got the message and didn’t lose a fumble the rest of the year. The state championship brought colleges from all over but Tracy’s decision was easy after visiting Miami the weekend after they won the 1983 National Championship.
Tracy was a member of the All-Area and Florida North-South All Star team, was awarded a 3 year scholarship to University of Miami, was a 3 year letterman and a member of the University of Miami 1987 National Championship Team. University of Miami coach Jimmy Johnson couldn’t say enough about Tracy at a press conference in the spring of 1986 saying he had shown he could compete at that level. Unfortunately for Tracy, the spotlight on Miami brought many excellent athletes from all over making it very difficult to get playing time and Tracy spent most of his time with special teams. He left his mark, however, by making the first hit in the 2014 Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma that clinched the 1987 National Title for Miami. Tracy is employed by the United States Postal Service at their Regional Office in Little Elm, Texas working in logistics and transportation.
Kelly Joy Anderson Onanian - MHS Class of 1993
Inducted as Student Athlete - Swimming
Kelly is a graduate of MHS Class of 1993, was nominated by Cecilia Gosling and is being inducted into MHS Athletic Hall of Honor as a Student Athlete in swimming. Kelly made a name for herself as a competitive swimmer early in life. She was named the states outstanding female swimmer in the 11-12 age group after winning 9 events at Florida’s Junior Olympics holding the state record in the 50 meter freestyle with a time of 27.95. That year she was highlighted in in a Sports Illustrated magazine article “Faces in the Crowd”.
At 14, she set a state Jr. Olympic record with a time of 24.52 in the 50 free. The competitions and winning statistics continued and Kelly was the first and only female Hurricane to win a State Championship Title in Swimming in 1990 – to our knowledge that title still stands. She was named First Team All American in the 100 yard freestyle in 1991, a four time Female Athlete of the Year and a four time All-Area Swimmer. In her senior year, Kelly was a favorite to win a 2nd state championship title when pneumonia in her right lung forced her to the sidelines and the biggest disappointment of her young life.
That setback didn’t hurt her future since at MHS she was the epitome of a high school student/athlete maintaining honor roll status for all 4 years which was also an attraction to all the colleges. She was heavily recruited by Division I colleges and eventually signed a National Letter of Intent for a full scholarship with national powerhouse LSU. She later transferred to Emerson College where she pursued a career in Journalism and earned her Master’s Degree from UMass/Dartmouth. She is a former reporter/producer at a TV station in Boston, former Associate Producer at Fox 25 news, former writer for the Boston Globe and currently a Lead Teacher at Rising Tide Public Charter School. Kelly currently lives in Naples, FL with her husband, Scott and their children.
Coach Stephen "Pigeon" Olsen - Inducted as Coach
Coach Stephen Olsen was nominated by Marni Williams Lun, a 1998 graduate and is being inducted into MHS Athletic Hall of Honor as a Coach Steve was born in Rochelle Illinois where he starred 3 years in football while lettering 4 years each in track and basketball before receiving a track scholarship to FSU. At FSU he was a hurdler, 440 and 880 relay specialist on the FSU track team and came to MHS in 1966 to coach track.
For a guy who spent his entire life racking up outrageous numbers, he will never make it as a mathematician since he’s been quoted as saying “numbers don’t matter” when you ask about all his wins and losses. Steve coached varsity track, founded and coached the cross country team, 9th grade head football coach, JV football coach, Varsity Boys Basketball coach, Girls Varsity basketball (his teams had over 200 wins), Girls varsity softball coach (teams had over 200 wins) and had the most overall wins in sports coached (and the most losses too) If you ask him how many seasons he coached each sport, he might have trouble remembering since “numbers don’t matter” He thinks he’s close to 400 or 500 wins but he’s not sure saying all he ever cared about was win the next one and win the district – he just wanted the kids to play. And win they did!!!
He survived 30 nerve-wracking years as a driver’s education teacher at MHS and our FaceBook post about him had many comments from many former students who credit their current driving ability to him. AND, some remembered stories wondering how he could stay calm and be in the vehicle teaching kids how to drive with some of the narrow escapes they had.
Steve answers to Ole or Spike or Pigeon and loves it when one of his former players stops by to see him. He might not remember their name but he remembers their face as one of the students he coached at MHS. A 2004 article states that through the years he’s handled over 50,000 pigeons and won dozens of national championships at pigeon shows. At that time, he still had over 500 pigeons in the old barn he cherishes behind his home and his baseball card collection would make a collector’s mouth water along with his Frank Sinatra unopened record albums that are stored with pigeon championship plaques and trophies.
Dr. Owen McCarthy - Inducted as Contributor
Dr. Owen McCarthy was nominated by Carl May and is being posthumously inducted into MHS Athletic Hall of Honor as a Contributor. Dr. McCarthy graduated Cum Laude with a BS degree from Georgetown University in Washington DC and received his MD from Georgetown Medical School in 1962.
After interning at St. Vincents Hospital in NYC, a year of general surgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, 2 years of surgery in the U.S. Air Force at Patrick Air Force Base, one year at New York University Bellevue Medical Center and one year of children’s orthopaedic surgery with the Columbia Presbyterian Program at New York State Rehabilitation Hospital, he opened his office in Manatee County in 1969. In 1971, he was named a Diplomat by The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery which is the highest professional recognition that can be obtained by an orthopaedic surgeon.
We were fortunate to have him as a steadying presence on the Manatee Hurricanes football sideline as the team doctor when our players needed help and he performed thousands of free physicals for MHS football players for over 40 years.
Devoted not only to his family and Manatee High School, he was devoted to all of Manatee County giving tirelessly and generously through the years. We’ve heard many stories of the parties held at the beautiful home he shared with his wife Dottie and their children but we didn’t hear of all the times he left the party to go to his office or the hospital to take care of a patient. One in particular was a St. Patrick’s Day party when a track coach, not knowing about the party, reached out regarding a teammate who was injured. Dr. McCarthy would have it no other way than to meet them at his office in his costume including a St. Patrick’s hat on his head to examine his patient. Time will not permit us to share all the similar stories of personal sacrifice to help Manatee High student athletes and all his patients.
2001/2002 Boy's Soccer Team - Inducted as Team
The 2001/2002 Boy’s Soccer Team was nominated by Michael Fenton for induction as a team The team played an unforgettable season to say the least and their coach, Rene Mirandilla said it was one he couldn’t have predicted in his wildest dreams. It was definitely MHS’s best soccer team ever after going the entire season with an undefeated 29-0-1 record in the regular season and nationally ranked #2 in the nation.
They had the most goals ever scored in a single season and the fewest goals given up in a single season for MHS. It was also one for the record books with numerous school records being set. While outscoring opponents 127 to 19 going into the finals of the district tournament, Colby West recorded a record 15 shutouts while playing in goal. Hunter West and Chris Raye were selected to the National Soccer Coaches Athletic Association’s All-South team. Hunter West, Thomas Myette & Michael Fenton were all First Team State Players with Hunter West being named Player of the Year. Hunter signed with Division I South Florida and Mike Fenton signed with Division I DePaul University.
In 2001, Students Sports Magazine ranked the team as the No. 25 boys soccer team in the nation and No 1 in the state Class 4A poll. As the 2002 Cane Echo states "Kickin' 'Canes were Unstoppable"!!!!
Team Members: Daniel Ross Anderson, Joshua David Boice, Taylor Lamar Clark, Travis Randall Clark, James Merritt "Jimmy" Falls, Michael Patrick Fenton, Santiago Gonzalez Varon, Kenneth John "Ken" Hargreaves, Corey Nicholas Heflin, Jeffrey Michal "Jeff" Hernden, Matthew T. "Matt" Kretzmann, Thomas Alphonse Myette, Gregory Michael Pavich, Justin Michael Raye, Shane Michael Seiden, Jeffrey Michael Smith, James Robert "Bobby" Troxler, Colby Loy West, Hunter James West