University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame & Museum Celebrity Fishing Tournament
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When Leo Armbrust got the call that he was being inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, he wondered if it was a wrong number.
Inducted in the same class with stars such as Hank Aaron and Fred Taylor? Couldn’t be, or so Armbrust thought.
“My initial reaction was one of complete and total surprise,” said Armbrust, a West Palm Beach resident who served as team priest for the University of Miami (1983-1996) as well as for the Dallas Cowboys (1993-94) and Dolphins (1996-2006). “Here I am going in with some of the greatest athletes in their particular field and I wasn’t even on the field.”
True, Armbrust never hit home runs like Aaron or ran for touchdowns like Taylor. But Armbrust, who is being honored as a contributor, made an impact in ways his fellow inductees could not approach.
Armbrust served as confidant, counselor and trusted friend to countless Hurricanes, Cowboys and Dolphins. He introduced Jim Kelly to his wife, Jill. He officiated at the weddings of Vinny Testaverde, Steve Walsh and Ken Dorsey. He baptized Alonzo Highsmith and his two sons, including current UM quarterback A.J. Highsmith. Armbrust also had the sad duty of presiding over the funerals of former UM players Derwin Jones, Shane Curry and Jerome Brown.
“The greatest level of compensation for me has been the relationships I’ve been able to forge,” said Armbrust, 59.
After 31 years, Armbrust left the priesthood last May so he could devote himself to Vita Nova, an organization in West Palm Beach that helps young people who have “aged out” of foster care gain the life skills necessary for independence.
Armbrust, still known as “Father Leo” around UM, remains close to many of the players and coaches with whom he once worked. Asked if they ever requested divine inspiration on the sideline, Armbrust said, “My response was always, ‘I’m in sales, not management.’ “
Ray Bellamy was a 3 sport star at Lincoln Memorial High School in Palmetto, Florida, earning letters in football, basketball and track; he served as captain of the football team and Student Body President, as well as the Florida State Student Council president, a theme that would follow him to Miami. He was named an All American and All State in football. UM President Henry King Stanford thought it was time to break the color barrier on the football team, the school having integrated its students in 1962, and Ray was the first African American athlete given a scholarship to Miami. He chose the Canes over Florida, Florida State, Nebraska and Indiana, among other schools.
After setting records in 1967 on the freshman team, Coach Charlie Tate utilized Ray’s talents the following year for the varsity as he caught 37 passes for 549 yards and 2 touchdowns. His best game came at Auburn, where he gathered in 8 passes for 121 yards. He also caught a 78 yard touchdown pass for Miami’s only score against #4 Penn State, at the time, tied for the third longest pass reception in school history. The following year, he would catch 8 passes for 163 yards and a 66 yard touchdown reception against Wake Forest. Ray was severely injured in a near-fatal car crash in January ,1970, that cut short his promising career. At the end of his playing days, he was in the top 8 in career catches and yards on receptions, most yards and catches in a season, and most total catches in a game. His 37 receptions in 1968 was a UM Sophomore record.
In 1971, Ray was voted Miami’s first African American Student Body President. A member of Iron Arrow, he was named to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He credits his mentor, former university President Henry King Stanford, for teaching him to deal with his situation at Miami, and in relating to people of all walks in life.
Bellamy graduated with a degree in Education in 1971, Business Management in 1972, and also has a Masters in College Student Personnel. He has 3 children, Rhonda, Aaron and Byron and currently works as an academic advisor/instructor at Florida A & M University in Tallahassee.
Donnell Bennett, Jr. (born September 14, 1972 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida) is a former American football fullback in the National Football League for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins. Bennett attended Cardinal Gibbons High School where he was a standout running back. He played college football at the University of Miami and was drafted in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft. While at the University of Miami, he was roommates with future WWE superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He is currently the head coach for the Northeast High School football team in Oakland Park, Florida.
Albert Bentley was a former walk-on at the University of Miami who eventually earned a scholarship as a running back. He went on to become a major force in the Hurricane’s running game and scored the winning touchdown in the National Championship game against Nebraska in the 1983 Orange Bowl. He played eight seasons in the NFL, 7 with the Colts and his final year with the Steelers.
Damien Berry (born October 21, 1989) is an American football running back Baltimore Ravens National Football League. He played college football for the University of Miami, where he was the team’s leading rusher in 2010 and a second-team All-ACC selection. He was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2011.
Damien Berry was born in 1989 at Belle Glade, Florida. His father, Kenny Berry, played college football for the Miami Hurricanes from 1987 to 1989. Berry attended Suncoast High School where he played running back and safety, though he was mainly used as a safety. As a sophomore for Suncoast, Berry had four interceptions, more than 500 rushing yards, and 300 more all-purpose yards, and finished the season with 14 touchdowns. As a junior, Berry rushed for 530 yards and five touchdowns to go along with three interceptions on defense. As a senior, Berry transferred to Glades Central High School,where he rushed for 1,080 yards and 19 touchdowns. Despite suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Berry played through the injury as a senior and helped lead Glades Central to a state title. He later had surgery to repair tears in the meniscus and ACL.
Berry was recruited as a safety and was rated the No. 7 safety prospect and the No. 14 player in Florida by Rivals.com. He was also ranked No. 9 player in Florida by the Orlando Sentinel.
Berry saw action in all 12 games as a freshman. He played only on special teams in the first 11 games, registering three solo tackles and five tackle assists. He played safety in the season finale against Boston College, registering one solo tackle.
Berry was moved to running back his sophomore season. He played in seven games on the kickoff cover team and recorded three tackles.
In March 2009, Berry secured a spot for himself when he rushed for 124 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown run, during Miami’s annual spring game.
As a junior, Berry rushed for a career-high 162 yards against the Florida A&M. Interviewed after the game, Berry gave the credit to his offensive line: “Everything went great, and, I mean, yeah, that’s thanks to my O-line.” He became a fan favorite as Miami supporters “rhythmically chanted” his last name (“Berry, Berry, Berry …”) when he entered games. Asked in November 2009 about whether he lacked the moves to shake defenders, Berry replied:
“If you’re not a defensive lineman or a legit linebacker, I’m going to run through you. When I look up and see nothing but one guy (in front of him), I’m going through him. … They say I can’t shake (defenders). I got moves, but why use it when you don’t need it? I’m more of a power back. I’d rather run straight through you than try to run around you.”
During the 2009 season, Berry rushed for 616 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, and led the Hurricanes with eight touchdowns.
In October 2010, Berry became one of only five running backs in Miami Hurricanes history to have three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. The other four are Damien Berry is carrying the football with such brute force, he joined Willis McGahee, Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis, and Frank Gore. He added a fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing performance the following week. Despite injury problems, Berry rushed for 899 yards during the 2010 season. He was Miami’s leading rusher in 2010,was selected as a second-team All-ACC player.
Berry was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2011. Berry was assigned No. 23 by the Ravens, the same number worn by Willis McGahee, another Miami Hurricanes running back who went on to play for the Ravens. After receiving the jersey, Berry told reporters, “It was a total surprise. I came in and they had No. 23 in my locker. I’m proud to wear it. I’m definitely going to represent for Willis and try to build on what he left here.”
On August 25, 2013, he was waived by the Ravens.
Bennie Blades, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was a two-time first team All-American as a defensive back for the Hurricanes in 1986 and 1987. He was awarded the Jim Thorpe Award as the nations premier defensive back in his senior season. Blades holds the all-time interception record of 19 interceptions in a career, held, at the time, the interception return yards record (305), consecutive games with an interception (5), total tackles by a safety (286) and unassisted tackles by a safety (155).
Bennie helped lead the Hurricanes to their second national championship in his senior year, 1987, when he was first in the nation in interceptions (.91) per game.
In 1988 Bennie was the third overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft when he was picked by the Detroit Lions. Bennie was later traded to the Seattle Seahawks where he played with his brother Brain, a former U.M. wide receiver. Bennie had a stellar 10 year professional career and will always be remembered for his outstanding play in the Hurricane defensive backfield.
Bennie was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and the University of Miami Football Ring of Honor in 2009.
Melvin Bratton had a standout career at the University of Miami during his five seasons in Coral Gables. As a running back and fullback, Bratton ran his way into the UM record books as well as leading the team to the 1987 national championship over Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl Classic.
Melvin’s accomplishments can still be found in the football record book with his 32 career touchdowns tying for third all-time, and his 26 rushing touchdowns fourth-most. When he completed his career in 1987, he was listed among several record holders including points scored (3rd, 192), touchdown receptions (6th) all-purpose yardage (8th, 2,455), rushing (9th, 1,371) and receptions (9th, 86).
After getting injured in the 1988 Orange Bowl against Oklahoma, his final collegiate game, the sure-fire first round pick was forced to rehabilitate and wound up a sixth-round selection of the Miami Dolphins. Melvin Bratton declined to play in his first season out of college prepping his knee for the next season when the Denver Broncos selected him. Melvin played with the Broncos from 1988-91, and later became an NFL scout with the Washington Redskins.
After graduating in 1994, Clement went on to attend the University of Miami, a college football powerhouse who had been hurt by NCAA sanctions. With the Hurricanes, Clement would split the starting quarterback role in 1995 with Ryan Collins. Clement replaced Collins in the third game of the 1995 season against Virginia Tech when Collins was sidelined with an injury. Clement started the remaining 8 games, losing his first start to Florida State but finishing the season with 7 wins in a row. After a slow start in 1995, going 1-3 before finishing the season at 8-3, Miami would still have participated in a post-season bowl because of its strong finish. Miami, however, was ineligible for bowl game participation due to NCAA sanctions. This was Butch Davis’ first year as Head Coach of the Hurricanes.
Clement took over the starting role full time in 1996, leading the Big East in pass efficiency with a 147.1 rating. Clement was a leading candidate for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award in 1996 and was also an All-Big East Conference selection. He led the Hurricanes to the Big East title shared with Virginia Tech and Syracuse (all finished 6-1 in conference play) with an impressive performance in the final game of the season at Syracuse. Clement threw for three touchdowns to help Miami defeat the Donovan McNabb led Orangemen 38-31, earning Big East Player of the Week honors and giving Miami a share of the Big East conference crown. Miami finished the 1996 season 9-3, with a win over Virginia in the Carquest Bowl and ranked 14th in both the AP and coaches polls. 1997 proved to be an extremely difficult year for Clement and the Hurricanes. Miami, beset by the scholarship reductions due to NCAA violations under the Dennis Erickson tenure, and forced to play several true freshmen as starters in key positions, fell to a 5-6 record, their first losing record since 1979.
Clement led the Miami Hurricanes in 30 regular season games as the starting quarterback over three seasons, and led his team to a win in the 1996 Carquest Bowl in the only post-season game he started. He received the Walter Kichefski Football Award, selected by his coaches as the Miami player that most represents the characteristics Kichefski lived by: respect for fellow man, loyalty, dedication, sacrifice, motivation and inspiration. Ryan Clement finished his career at Miami among the all-time statistical leaders in the following categories: Career Pass Completion Percentage:(Minimum 250 Attempts) – (443 of 747) – 59.3% (4th All-Time), Career Pass Completions: 443 (4th All-Time), Career Pass Attempts: 747 (4th All-Time), Career Passing Yardage: 6,004 (5th All-Time), Career Total Offense: 5,659 (5th All-Time), Career Touchdown Passes: 43 (6th All-Time). He also owns two individual season marks for Pass Completion Percentage for the 1996 season of 60.3% (164 of 272) (6th All-Time) and for the 1995 season of 59.2% (199 of 201) (10th All-Time).
Mark was recruited to the University of Miami under Lou Saban who later left and was replaced by Howard Schnellenberger (who Mark says he owes his career to). Mark went to Miami as a tight-end and moved to tackle his junior year and excelled to receive two Player of the Game Awards, against Notre Dame and North Carolina, then was voted the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman, 1982, presented by the Miami Touchdown Club. And later was voted to a Miami All-Time Team by the Miami Herald. Mark was a 2nd Team All South Independent All American by the Associated Press. Mark Played in the East West Shrine Game and the North-South Senior Bowl and was drafted by the Denver Broncos as a 2nd round draft pick in 1983, playing seven years in the NFL. Mark played four years with the Denver Broncos (1983-1986) and three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1987-1989). While with the Broncos, he was a member of the 1986 AFC Championship Team that played the Cleveland Browns in the famous AFC Championship game labeled “The Drive” and in SuperBowl XXI of the same season in Pasadena against the New York Giants. Throughout his career he protected quarterbacks like Jim Kelly in college, then John Elway, Vinny Testaverde and Steve Deberg and Joe Ferguson. Mark now resides in Colorado with his wife Nancy and two sons, Michael and Cameron. He is involved in real estate sales and mortgage financing throughout the Denver metro area. He travels extensively and enjoys recreational and tournament fly fishing, outdoor writing and has been published in the Redbone Journal, The Denver Post, Florida Sportsman, and the Key West Magazine along with other magazines.
Gary Dunn (born August 24, 1953 in Coral Gables, Florida) is a former professional football player American football defensive tackle for twelve seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gary Dunn was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976 following a stellar career at the University of Miami. Gary was a mainstay on the vaunted Steelers’ defense for 12 seasons, serving as team captain four years. The two-time Super Bowl champion is ranked ninth in the Steelers’ all-time sacks list, having taken-down such legendary Hall of Fame quarterbacks as Joe Namath, Bob Griese and Jim Kelly. Today, Gary and his wife Caron live in the Florida Keys (Tavernier), living the Keys lifestyle with their two children, Iris and Eddie, and enjoy entertaining and hosting both friends and guests at their Oceanview Inn & Pub.
Jason Fox (born May 2, 1988) is an American football offensive left tackle from the University of Miami football team selected by the Detroit Lions as the 30th pick in the 4th round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He started 47 games for the Hurricanes, two away from breaking the school start mark by an offensive lineman set by Richard Mercier and Mike Sullivan (48) and three away from tying the mark regardless of position by William Joseph.
Franks played collegiate football at the University of Miami, where he was known for his extraordinary one-handed receptions. He redshirted in 1996, but was very productive in the 1997, 1998 and 1999 seasons, setting the University of Miami record for most touchdowns by a tight end, with 12. He was also named to the All-Big East team twice and was named as an All-American in 1999. Franks waived his final year of eligibility to enter the 2000 NFL Draft and was selected in the first round, with the 14th overall selection, by the Green Bay Packers.
Joaquin Antonio Gonzalez (born September 7, 1979 in Miami, Florida) is a former professional National Football League offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts. In college, he played alongside Bryant McKinnie on the offensive line, protecting for quarterback Ken Dorsey during the Miami Hurricanes’ national championship season in 2001. He is fondly remembered for reminding his team to dominate at all times during the 2001 season, and only rarely did they not do it.
Dennis Wayne Harrah (born March 9, 1953) is a former NFL Offensive Lineman who played 13 seasons in the National Football League for Los Angeles Rams. He played college football for the University of Miami. He played for and graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in Charleston, West Virginia – now Stonewall Jackson Middle School.
University of Miami
Harrah was a 1974 All-America selection by NEA and TSN, Time magazine as a tackle. He was a Second-team All-America pick by UPI and AP. Was a 6-5 259 senior who could run a 4.8 40-yard dash and bench press 500 pounds. He is a member of the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
Los Angeles Rams
Selected 11th overall by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1975 Draft. He helped the Rams win the NFC West 6 times (1975–79 and 1985) and the 1979 NFC Championship. During his tenure with the team the Rams led the NFC in Points Scored in 1976, Total Yards Gained in 1980 and Yards Rushing in 1976 and 1980. Served as team captain for 6 years and played in the Pro Bowl 6 times.
As a rookie in 1975 he backed up starter Joe Scibelli and played on special teams. In 1976 he took over at right guard and held that position for 12 seasons.
Off the field, Harrah starred in the 1986 rap music video “Ram It,” bragging that he “learned long ago if you ram it just right, so you can ram it all day and ram it all night.”
David Heffernan helped anchor the 1979 defense that was as formidable and intimidating as it was successful.
In 1979, Columbus had its own version of the Iron Curtain. The defensive tackles were David Heffernan and John McVeigh, and the defensive ends were Julio Cortes and Hank McGinnis.
Playing against some of the greatest running backs this town has ever seen – including Buster Rhymes at Northwestern and Freddie Miles at Miami Springs — the Columbus defense allowed a grand total of 39 points in 10 games.
They were called the “Goose Egg” defense because they recorded 5 shutouts. The team went 8-2 and lost two district games by a combined 11-0 score. Three of the players on that line played Division 1 college football including David Heffernan … who signed a scholarship with the University of Miami.
David Heffernan also played four years of basketball at Columbus. He was a starter his senior year.
He punctuated his success at Columbus by winning the prestigious Silver Knight Award in the category of athletics. To this day, he is the only Columbus student honored by the Silver Knight committee in this category.
David went on to play football at the University of Miami for four years legendary Miami Coach Howard Schnellenberger converted David from defensive to offensive line. David became a starter at right tackle in his junior year at Miami.
That was the year the Canes stunned the college football world by upsetting Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to win the national championship.
David was drafted in the middle rounds of the NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs but was let go on the last cut. He later was in training camp with the Detroit Lions, the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Bucs before deciding to enter law school in the fall of 1989 he graduated from the University of Miami College of Law in 1991 and has been practicing law privately for the past two decades, most recently as a partner with the Miami injury firm Kaire & Heffernan, LLC.
Theodore “Ted” Paul Hendricks (born November 1, 1947) is a former American football linebacker who played 15 seasons for the Baltimore Colts (1969–73), the Green Bay Packers (1974) and the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders (1975–83) in the National Football League. He was a member of four Super Bowl-winning teams, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
An NFL player for six seasons, Alonzo Highsmith enters his 17th year with the Green Bay Packers’ personnel department. He was promoted to senior personnel executive in May 2012 after 13 years on the Packers’ college scouting staff, where he maintained primary responsibility for the Southwest region.
First named as a college scout on Feb. 1, 1999, by then-Executive Vice President/General Manager Ron Wolf, Highsmith originally had entered the professional ranks as the No. 3 overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft by the then-Houston Oilers, behind only college teammate Vinny Testaverde (Tampa Bay) and Cornelius Bennett (Indianapolis).
The 50-year-old Highsmith began his pro career by playing three seasons in Houston (1987-89), starting 40 straight games with the Oilers. Following offseason knee surgery, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys prior to the 1990 campaign.
Highsmith was with Dallas for 1½ seasons before being waived by the Cowboys on Oct. 4, 1991. Claimed by Tampa Bay, he spent the remainder of his pro career with the Buccaneers. Due to a series of knee injuries, he retired from the NFL at the end of the 1992 season.
Highsmith’s NFL totals included 65 games played, 283 rushing attempts for 1,195 yards (4.2 avg.) and seven touchdowns. He also made 42 receptions for 428 yards (10.2 avg.) and three TDs during the course of his pro career. After the conclusion of Highsmith’s NFL career in 1992, he turned his sights to boxing. As a professional boxer, he competed as a heavyweight across the country, compiling a 27-1-1 career record over a four-year period.
Earlier a four-time letterman (1983-86) for the University of Miami (Fla.), Highsmith was a member of the 1983 Hurricanes squad that captured the collegiate national championship with a 31-30 triumph over Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. As a sophomore in 1984, he led Miami in rushing with 906 yards on 146 carries (6.2 avg.), and repeated that feat during his senior season, gaining 442 yards on 105 attempts (4.2 avg.). Highsmith graduated in 1987 with a degree in business administration.
Highsmith was the 1982 Florida high school Defensive Player of the Year as a linebacker at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, where he was a teammate of former Alabama head coach and current Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula. A three-time letterwinner for the school’s basketball team as a guard, Highsmith also competed in the 100- and 200-meter races in track for three years.
Highsmith was born Feb. 26, 1965, in Bartow, Fla., and resides in Green Bay. He and his wife, Denise, are the parents of three children, Alonzo, 25, A.J., 24, and Jordan, 21. Highsmith has two other children, Jasmine, 29, and Brandon, 27. Brandon (Thermilus) played collegiately as a running back at the University at Buffalo, Alonzo was a collegiate linebacker at the University of Arkansas, A.J. recently finished his college career as a defensive back at the University of Miami and Jordan is a senior track and field student-athlete at Oklahoma State.
Randal’s path to the Hurricanes began early in life, when his father, Ransom Hill, coached him, and future UM roommates, Alex Johnson and Robert Bailey in little league football. By the time he left Miami’s Killian High, he had already earned the nickname “Thrill Hill” and was ready to make his mark in college football. As a true Freshman on the 1987 National Championship team, he set a then school record for kickoff return yardage with 497 yards on 19 returns. He saved some of his finest moments for the big stage.
In 1989, Miami faced #1 ranked Notre Dame in a late season contest at the Orange Bowl. In the second half, with the score tied , and the Canes facing an almost impossible 3rd and 43 from their own 7 yard line, Randal streaked down the right sideline, stretched out, and grabbed quarterback Craig Erickson’s pass for a 44 yard gain, in one of the most electric moments in the venerable old stadium. The first down broke the back of the Irish defense and Miami went on to win 27-10, sending the Canes to another National Championship!
In the 1991 Cotton Bowl, he was on the receiving end of a 48 yard Erickson touchdown pass that set the stage as the Canes crushed Texas, 46-3.
He holds the UM record for career kickoff return yards with 1,169 yards on 54 returns. He ranks in the Top Ten lists for season kickoff return attempts and yards, career receptions (107), career receiving yards (1,643), and career touchdown receptions (11).
After graduating Miami in four years with a degree in Sociology, he was a first round draft pick by the Dolphins (23rd overall) and played 7 seasons in the NFL with Miami, Arizona and New Orleans, catching 262 passes for 3,849 yards and 14 touchdowns.
When he hung up his cleats for good, he got into law enforcement in South Florida, as a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, and currently as a special agent for the U.S. Government. He also works part-time for the NFL. Married to his college sweetheart, Dr. Michelle Hill, the first female in UM’s Phi Beta Kappa for Chemistry, they have two children.
Wide receiver Michael Irvin joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1988, following a stellar collegiate football career with the Miami Hurricanes. Selected as the 11th player overall in the first round of the 1988 National Football League Draft, Irvin quickly developed into one of the elite receivers in Cowboys and NFL history.
As a rookie, Irvin offered a glimpse of what was to follow during his 12-season career with the Cowboys. He became the first rookie wide receiver to start a season opener for Dallas in more than 20 years. He caught his first of 65 career touchdowns in that game. Irvin’s 20.4 yard per catch average during his rookie year led the NFC.
Early in his career, Irvin and the Cowboys suffered through some lean years. The team finished 3-13 during Irvin’s first season and then fell to 1-15 the following year. The team’s misfortunes would not last long. Help came first in 1989 with the addition of quarterback Troy Aikman and then in 1990 with the drafting of running back Emmitt Smith. The two players complemented Irvin’s talents and bolstered the Cowboys’ offense.
Almost instantly, the team became a contender and Irvin’s play, which rose to a new level, was a major factor. In 1991, he helped the Cowboys to an 11-5 record and a return to the playoffs by hauling in 93 passes for a league-leading 1,523 yards and 8 touchdowns. He received consensus All-Pro honors that year and earned the first of five straight Pro Bowl trips.
From 1991 through 1998, Irvin recorded 1,000-yard seasons in all but one year. Along the way, the Cowboys made four straight appearances in the NFC championship game (1992-1995) and captured three Super Bowl titles with back-to-back wins over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII, and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
In 1995, Irvin recorded his finest season as he caught 111 passes for 1,603 yards. He also established an NFL record with eleven 100-yard games, and scored 10 touchdowns. His outstanding play continued during that year’s post-season. In the Cowboys’ 38-27 win over the Green Bay Packers in the 1995 NFC Championship Game, Irvin had seven receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns. He capped off the year with five catches for 76 yards in Dallas’s 27-17 victory over the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX.
In all, Irvin accumulated 750 receptions for 11,904 yards. A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1990s, he had 100 or more yards receiving in a game forty-seven times during his 159-game career.
As a senior at Miami Senior High, Andre Johnson showed the ability to make things happen, scoring 15 times on just 31 receptions that racked up 908 yards, nearly 30 yards per catch. Johnson was named All-State and a 1998 Parade All-American. His prep success proved that he could make the type of exciting and game-changing plays that he would duplicate in the coming years, thrilling Hurricane fans and helping take the Canes back to the promised land…the National Championship.
After redshirting in 1999 and seeing limited action in 2000, catching 5 passes for 37 yards and returning 12 kickoffs for 249 yards, Andre claimed the starting job in his third campaign and proved to be one of the most dominating receivers in Miami’s storied history. He finished 2001 with 44 receptions for 881 yards (20 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns. Johnson was named co-MVP, with UMSHoF member Ken Dorsey, of the 2002 Rose Bowl National Championship game where he caught 7 passes for 199 yards, a UM Bowl record, and two touchdowns as the Canes claimed their fifth National Championship with a 37-14 rout of Nebraska. One of his many highlight games during 2001 came against arch rival FSU, 5 catches for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns in Miami’s 49-27 blowout victory over the Noles. In 2002, Johnson caught 52 passes and amassed 1,092 yards, 21 yards-per catch and nine touchdowns, joining UMSHoF member Eddie Brown as the only Canes receivers, at that time, to gain over 1,000 yards in a season. His 193 yards on 6 catches against Virginia Tech is the fourth most receiving yards in a game by a Hurricane. Andre ended his Miami days with 92 catches for 1,831 yards, the fifth-highest career total, and a career average of 19.9 yards per catch. His 20 receiving touchdowns are tied, with UMSHoF member Reggie Wayne, for third-most in school history, trailing only UMSHoF member Michael Irvin (26) and fellow 2014 UMSHoF inductee Lamar Thomas (23). Johnson also ran for UM’s track and field team. In 2002, he won the Big East 60-meter dash (6.83 seconds) at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship and followed that up by winning the 100-meter dash (10.59) at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships.
Drafted by the Houston Texans third overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, Andre is second all-time in NFL history in receiving yards per game (80.4). He holds nearly every Texans receiving record and is a six-time Pro Bowl selection. In Johnson’s rookie season, 2003, he founded the Andre Johnson Foundation for children and teens growing up in single-parent homes, the organization supports programs that develop the “total person.” His daughter was born in February 2010.
James William “Jimmy” Johnson (born July 16, 1943) is an American former NCAA and National Football League head coach. As of 2010, he is currently an analyst for Fox NFL Sunday, the Fox network’s NFL pregame show. He was the first football coach whose teams won both an NCAA Division 1A National Championship and a Super Bowl. In 1993, Johnson wrote Turning The Thing Around: My Life in Football (ghostwritten by Ed Hinton). Johnson as of 2010 lives in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.
Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Johnson graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School(renamed Memorial High School) in Port Arthur, where two of his classmates were singer Janis Joplin and actor G. W. Bailey.
He attended college at the University of Arkansas and was a member of the 1964 National Championship football team, where he was an all-SWC defensive linemanfor Hall of Fame coach Frank Broyles, and a teammate of future Dallas Cowboysowner Jerry Jones. Other teammates were Ken Hatfield, Jim Lindsey, Ronnie Caveness, and Loyd Phillips. Several future head coaches were assistant coaches for Frank Broyles and the Razorbacks during Johnson’s career in Fayetteville: Hayden Fry, Johnny Majors and Barry Switzer. Johnson was nicknamed “Jimmy Jumpup” because he never stayed down on the ground for long during football practices or games as it was said his determination was boundless.
Johnson’s coaching tree includes a number of future head coaches such as Butch Davis, Norv Turner, Tommy Tuberville, Dave Campo and Dave Wannstedt. Johnson is one of only two head coaches to win both a college football national championship and a Super Bowl. The other is Barry Switzer, who also played college football at Arkansas (prior to Johnson), and was a rival head coach during their college coaching careers. Switzer was Johnson’s successor as head coach of the Cowboys.
Born in Denver, Colorado where he grew up a fan of the Broncos, K.C. and his family moved to Midland, Texas when he was 8 years old. As a captain for the storied Robert E. Lee Rebels, he was named the team MVP his Senior season and a 1991 Texas All-State selection at center.
After high school, K.C. chose to accept a full athletic scholarship to the University of Miami. Once there, he became the youngest center in U.M. history, starting all 12 games at age 19. As a Sophomore, he was voted a unanimous First Team All-Big East selection. In 1995, K.C. was voted All-Big East again, despite missing six games due to a knee injury. As a Senior in 1996, he was widely considered the nation’s top center, and the post season awards took notice. He was named First Team All-American by the Associated Press, and selected to his third straight All-Big East honor. He was also a semifinalist for both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Trophy.
After college, K.C. was signed to a free agent contract by his hometown Denver Broncos and spent five seasons with the team, including the Broncos Super Bowl XXXII and XXXIII World Championship teams.
Most recently in 2008, K.C. was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
Coach Arthur Francis Kehoe began his tenure at the University of Miami in 1979 when he transferred from Laney Junior College and played guard for two seasons under Coach Howard Schnellenberger. After graduating Kehoe returned to coach at the U and is now going on his 28th year at the university. He is widely recognized by fans and loved by his players for his animated personality and uncanny ability to motivate those around him. There is no question where Coach Kehoe is at any given time around his team as he will be heard ranting phrases such as, there is too much milling around, and miles to go before we sleep!
At Miami, Art has produced seven 1st Team All-Americans, an Outland Trophy winner and a Rimington Award winner. More than 20 of his players have gone on to the NFL. He has been on staff for all five national championships, two Heisman Trophy winners and seven of Miami’s nine 1000 yard rushers have run behind Kehoe’s units.
Phil Lane blasted 62 home runs in three seasons at the University of Miami, including 25 during the Hurricanes first national championship season in 1982. Both were school records at the time. He also set a UM record when he homered in 5 consecutive games in 1982. Lane was third, that the time, on the Hurricanes all-time list in total bases and walks.
Lane will always be best remembered for swinging a hot bat when they needed it the most. At the 1982 NCAA Regional Tournament, Lane hit a 500-foot shot over the light tower at Mark Light Stadium. He was named MVP of the 1982 Regional. At the 1982 College World Series Lane batted .421 with three home runs, seven RBI’s and a .947 slugging percentage where he was named to the CWS all-tournament team and the where the Hurricanes won their first baseball national championship.
Damione Ramon Lewis (born March 1, 1978 in Sulphur Springs, Texas) is an American football defensive end who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Miami. Lewis has also been a member of the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, and Houston Texans.
Ray Anthony Lewis, Jr. (born May 15, 1975) is a former American footballlinebacker who played in the National Football League (NFL). He played his entire professional career for the Baltimore Ravens which spanned 17 seasons from 1996 to 2013, and for the University of Miami in college.
Drafted by the Ravens in 1996, Lewis was the last player remaining from the inaugural team at the start of the 2012-13 season.
Lewis was selected to 13 Pro Bowls and named an Associated Press All-Pro 10 times. He won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003, becoming the sixth player to win the award multiple times. Lewis was also the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award and the first to win the award on the winning Super Bowl team.
After a triceps tear that sidelined him for most of the 2012-13 season, Lewis returned for playoffs and guided the Ravens playoff run and a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
Rich Mercier was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and placed 5th in the Canadian Junior Freestyle Mogul Championships in 1993. Coming from the cold North, Mercier quickly became accustomed to the stifling South Florida heat and would become one of the Hurricanes most dependable offensive lineman in its history. Ranked the #2 college recruit out of Canada, he came from Montreal’s Vernier College (high school) to help anchor UM Sports Hall of Fame member Art Kehoe’s offensive line. Rich led the Canes line in pancake blocks during both his junior and senior seasons and would go on to tie UM Sports Hall of Fame member Mike Sullivan’s school record for career starts with 48. He was named a 1999 All American First Team member by The Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly and was a two time All BIG EAST First Team selection, in 1998 and 1999. In 1998, he was the recipient of the Walter Kichefski Endowed Scholarship, presented by the UM Sports Hall of Fame. For his efforts in the 1998 Micron PC Bowl, he was named to Sports Illustrated’s All Bowl team. He was invited to play in the Senior Bowl, the Hula Bowl, the East-West Shrine game and the Florida Citrus All Star Gridiron Classic after his senior season. Mercier was a 5th round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2000 NFL draft and was in the NFL for 3 seasons. Draft reports praised Mercier’s initial movement and ability to block while retreating in pass protection, and described him as a disciplined blocker with great lower body strength. Mercier was one of the strongest players on the Miami Hurricanes squad. He fondly remembers Miami’s upset of then #2 UCLA Bruins in the Orange Bowl in 1998 as one of his best times with the Hurricanes. Rich graduated from UM with a double major in Accounting and Finance, with a minor in International Business. He is married to Yadi Vasquez and they have a daughter, Sophia Rose Mercier, and they live in Miami.
Sherko Haji-Rasouli (born September 1, 1980 in Shiraz, Iran) is a professional Canadian football player who is currently a free agent. He most recently played for six seasons with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Haji-Rasouli was drafted by the Montreal Alouettes in the 2002 CFL Draft (2nd round, 12th overall). In 2003, Haji-Rasouli suffered a season-ending injury, limiting him to just one game. In 2004, Haji-Rasouli played all 18 games in his final season in Montreal. Haji-Rasouli was signed by the Lions as a free agent prior to the 2005 season. In 2005, Haji-Rasouli played 16 games primarily as the Lions’ first backup offensive lineman though he later moved into the starting lineup (starting 5 games) after an injury to Jamal Powell. Haji-Rasouli caught 1 pass for 3 yards in an August 19, 2005 game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In 2006, Haji-Rasouli played most of the season as a backup but received some starts when Kelly Bates was injured. On January 31, 2011, Haji-Rasouli was released by the Lions.
Brett Christopher Romberg (born October 10, 1979) is an American football center for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Miami and earned All-American honors. He was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2003, and has also played for the St. Louis Rams.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp is in his fourth season with NFL Network. This season, he serves as an analyst on NFL Total Access and the Emmy-nominated NFL GameDay Morning.
Aside from his work on NFL Network, Sapp is a regular on Inside the NFL on Showtime.
In 2008, Sapp appeared as a contestant on ABC’s seventh season of Dancing with the Stars where he finished in second place.
Sapp, who retired from the NFL in 2008 after a 13-year career, is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection who ranks second among all defensive tackles with 96.5 career sacks.
In 1999, Sapp was named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year after posting 12.5 sacks and anchoring a Buccaneers defense which allowed the fewest points and fewest yards in the NFC. One year later, Sapp posted a career-high 16.5 sacks.
In 2002, Sapp helped Tampa Bay to its first title in franchise history with a 48-21 victory over Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII. The 2002 Buccaneers defense topped the NFL in points and yards allowed.
Selected to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1990s, Sapp was a standout at the University of Miami, where he won the Lombardi Award in 1994 which annually recognizes the nation’s best lineman in college football.
Shockey attended the University of Miami, where he was part of the school’s long tradition of star tight ends along with teammate Douglas Scappa. As a Hurricane, Shockey first rose to national attention as a sophomore in Miami’s 2000 game versus rival Florida State, catching what proved to be the game-winning touchdown pass with :46 remaining in the fourth quarter as # 7 Miami defeated the then-top ranked Seminoles, 27-24. The Hurricanes went 11-1 and Shockey received first team All-Big East honors from the league’s coaches, The Sporting News, and College Football News.
In 2001, Shockey was an integral member of the national championship Miami team. Shockey led the team with 45 receptions and had 604 yards receiving and eight touchdowns (including bowl statistics). He was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award, and was named a first team All-American by CNNSI, and a second team All-American by the Associated Press, CBS Sportsline, and ABC Sports. Having reached the status of national champion and All-American, Shockey declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft following the 2001 season.
Shockey was interviewed about his time at the University of Miami for the documentary The U, which premiered December 12, 2009 on ESPN.
Dan Sileo (born January 3, 1963 in Stamford, Connecticut) is a sports radio personality. Sileo started his sports career at Stamford Catholic High School (now Trinity Catholic) in Stamford, Connecticut. He is the highest drafted NFL player from Stamford, where he led Catholic High to two straight city crowns and was named all city three times and was also named All-State in football by the CIAC. Sileo made the Adidas High School All American football team in 1981. Before his current career, had a short NFL career as a defensive lineman, playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and appearing in preseason games for the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. Sileo was also an All-League catcher in 1980 for the Princeton Tigers (Princeton, Illinois) of the Connie Mack league, hitting .286 with 18 home runs and 63 runs batted in as a catcher. Sileo is also a winner of the President’s Physical Fitness Award six times from 1973-1978, an award that comes from the President of the United States.
Sileo transferred once during his college career. He started at Maryland, where as a freshman he played in 10 games and broke NFL Hall of Famer and former Terp Randy White’s freshman bench press record with a 435-pound press. Sileo was a member of the University of Maryland’s 1983 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship football team. Sileo lost his scholarship when he tossed a student from a first-story dorm floor into a snow bank. It was believed that Sileo spent the summer riding with the gangster biker gang the “Hells Angels” chapter of Bridgeport, CT. He then went to the University of Miami Hurricanes, where he won his scholarship back, teamed with Bill Hawkins, Danny Stubbs, and Jerome Brown to form one of college footballs greatest defensive lines. In July 2010, Sileo’s 1986 Miami Hurricanes were voted the most hated American sports team in history by Sports Illustrated. Sileo is the strongest player in Miami Hurricane history, with a 535-pound bench press and 700-pound squat and running a 4.81 40-yard dash. In 1986, Sileo led the Hurricanes defensive line in solo tackles and tackles for loss and third in sacks and first in fumbles. He was also the leading tackler in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, where Sileo started the game off with a QB sack of Penn State QB John Shaffer; Miami fell 14-10 to Penn State. He made All South and was an All-American honorable mention. He was named to the Sporting News preseason All American team in 1987. Sileo in 1987 was a Sporting News pre season Outland Trophy canadate. Sileo was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-Time Walk on Team in 1992. Sileo’s bowl teams were the 1983 Capital One Bowl, 1986 Sugar Bowl and the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.
Darrin Andrew Smith (born April 15, 1970 in Miami, Florida) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) who played for the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints. While with Dallas he won two Super Bowl rings. At different times in his pro career he has played all three linebacker positions. Smith played college football at the University of Miami where he was also won two national championship.
At Miami Norland High School, he played linebacker and was also a 185-pound pulling guard during his junior year. He was also a member of his high school track team were he competed in the 100 meters with a personal best time of 10.7 seconds.
He was a member of the Dennis Erickson’s 1989 and 1991 national-championship teams.
Smith played strongside linebacker at Miami, where he formed “The Bermuda Triangle” along with teammates Jessie Armstead and Michael Barrow.
As a senior, he was a starter in the 1991 national-championship team and was also named an All-America linebacker.
In 2006, Smith was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame. His bio can be viewed at UMSportsHallofFame.com.
Smith stayed five years at the University of Miami, the first as a red-shirted freshman under Jimmy Johnson, so he could get a complete education. He earned his master’s degree in marketing after getting his undergraduate degree in business management.
The second-longest-tenured member of the Hurricanes coaching staff, Don Soldinger enters his 16th season as an assistant with the University of Miami. Currently serving his 11th year as running backs coach, Soldinger is also in his fifth season as special teams coordinator.
Soldinger’s career has coincided with rise of South Florida as a college and high school football mecca, and the veteran coach has been involved in much of that rich history over the last 37 seasons, both as a prep and college coach. His current tenure is his second as a UM assistant, having most recently joined the staff as running backs coach in 1995 for former head coach Butch Davis. He was promoted to special teams coordinator by head coach Larry Coker in February 2001, while retaining his post as running backs coach.
Soldinger has shaped the careers of many of the greatest players in Miami history as he has worked with running backs, tight ends and linebackers during his two tenures at UM. Some of those players are Michael Barrow (New York Giants), Rod Carter (Dallas Cowboys), Najeh Davenport (Green Bay Packers), Derrick Harris (St. Louis Rams), James Jackson (Cleveland Browns), Edgerrin James (Indianapolis Colts), Willis McGahee (Buffalo Bills), John McVeigh (Seattle Seahawks), Winston Moss (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Clinton Portis (Denver Broncos), and Alfredo Roberts (Kansas City Chiefs).
A testament to Soldinger’s acumen as a coach is the fact that he has produced five of the six running backs in UM’s 77-year football to rush for 1,000 yards.
Soldinger returned to UM in 1995 from Southridge High School, where he was head coach. He began his coaching career in 1968 at Coral Park High School and relocated to Killian High School in 1974. After three years, he progressed to head coach at Southridge High School and began his first tenure at UM in 1984 as linebackers and tight ends coach. Following six years and one national championship (1987) at UM, he returned to Southridge as head coach before rejoining the Miami staff in 1995 as running backs coach.
During 12 seasons as a high school head coach, Soldinger became a legend in the prep coaching ranks as he compiled a 104-35-1 record, winning two state championships and making four appearances in the state title game. Two times he was Coach of the Year by the Jack Harding chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Soldinger’s team also set a Dade County record for most consecutive victories at 29.
As a player, he was a three-year letterman, defensive end and offensive tackle at Southwest High School.
Daniel Stubbs, II (born January 3, 1965 in Long Branch, New Jersey) is a former professional American football defensive end in the National Football League. He played for ten seasons from 1988 to 1999 for the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Miami Dolphins. Stubbs played on two Super Bowl winning teams for the 49ers in his first two seasons of his career.
Stubbs played high school football at Red Bank Regional High School in Little Silver, New Jersey.
The Stubbs Sandwich, a food item sold in a restaurant chain in Coppell, Texas and heavily-endorsed by John Madden, is named for him.
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