Nine sports personalities were inducted into the Florida A&M University Sports Hall of Fame Friday night.
This was the 28th class since its inception in 1976. The hall of fame was founded by then-Athletic Director Hansel E. Tookes. Since it began, there have been over 200 inductees.
The first inductee was Arnold Bell, a professor in the Division of Physical Therapy in the School of Allied Health Services. This native New Yorker was the first black American to become a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties.
A football coach for Florida A&M since 1974, Allen Bogan was the next inductee. He has served longer than any assistant coach in the school history, with the exception of late Robert Griffin.
“I’m here because of my students and the players I’ve coached,” said Bogan. “These years have been the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.”
Jacksonville’s Tommy Chandler was a dominating figure on the 1957, 1959 and 1961 undefeated national championship teams.
When asked how he felt about the honor, Chandler said, “I can’t really explain it. It’s one of the best things that could happen to me other than becoming a Christian.”
Another inductee who was a key figure during FAMU’s hey day from 1958-1961 was Willie Clarington. He received All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors in 1960 and 1961.
Benny Coffee, the fourth inductee, has been considered one of the school’s best performers on defense. In 1974 he was rated among the top 20 linebackers in college football.
A football and baseball superstar from 1944-1949, Perry Hughes led his teams to a combined six SIAC Championships. He was a member of two SIAC baseball championship teams and four SIAC football title squads.
Jimmy Johnson, a football star from 1952-1956, was a three-year letter winner for the Rattlers. Johnson was a member of Florida A&M’s 1953 National Championship team.
“When you’re working, you never really give a serious thought to how much you’re doing or what you’ve done, until someone comes along and gives you an award,” said Johnson.
Dana Kaigler-Coleman was the only female inducted this year. She earned Outstanding Female Performer five times in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship events.
The final inductee was Billy Rolle, Junior, a football player from 1979 – 1982. Rolle had 62 tackles as a senior in 1982 and 13 pass interceptions over his last three seasons.
“This is a thing that all athletes should support because it’s the top athletic event,” said Johnson. “This is our event and we should put more emphasis on it.”
Dominique Drake can be reached at email@example.com