The Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame, presented by Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, & Fronrath, reveals the 2019 Hall of Fame Class which includes coaches, athletes and community leaders. The 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees are Annette De Luca, William Harvey, Mike Kissner, John McCormack, Don Smith, Budd Watson, and Dr. Gary Wiren.
West Palm Beach, FL — The PBCSC (Palm Beach County Sports Commission), one of the strongest sports commissions in the United States, announced today its 2019 Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame honorees. Coaches, athletes and community leaders dedicated to helping others through sport will join family and friends to celebrate and honor the achievements of the inductees at the 43rd Annual Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame Award Ceremony which will be held Monday, March 25, 2019, at the Convention Center in West Palm Beach.
Annette De Luca
Annette “Babe” De Luca has been a resident of Palm Beach County since 1970. De Luca started playing golf at the age of 18 and turned professional at 21. Before beginning her professional golf career, Annette was an all-star athlete in both basketball and softball at Cardinal Newman High School. She was a part of Cardinal Newman’s Women’s Softball AAA State Championship Team in 1983. Due to her natural athletic ability, Annette was pegged the nickname “Babe” by her mentor, Dr. Gary Wiren, after the great Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Before joining the LPGA Tour in 1996, Annette won three times on the Gold Coast Tour in 1995. Some of her career highlights include a tie for 11th place at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, a tie for second place at the Sunrise Hawaiian Ladies Open, and a tie for 30th place at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2003. She was the winner of the Southeast Section Championship in both 2007 and 2010, the latter of which she shot a course record of 65 at the West Palm Beach Country Club. From 2007-2010, De Luca was an LPGA Teaching Professional and Adult Programming Director at John Prince Golf Learning Center. In 2013, she joined the LPGA Legends Tour, and in 2018 she qualified for the Inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open. She has been teaching at Park Ridge Golf Course for the past six years and is currently the Owner/Director of Instruction at The Golf Barn in Glenville, NC.
William Harvey (posthumously)
A long-time supporter of Lake Worth High School athletics, Mr. Harvey was a charter member of the Trojan 20, The Booster Club. Mr. Harvey was often referred to as the number one Booster of Lake Worth High School. He played football and baseball at Lake Worth High School and declined a football scholarship to Stetson to join the service in 1948. After returning from serving his country, he played baseball for Palm Beach Junior College and semi-pro football for the Lake Worth Rebels. He was the Voice of the Trojans during home football games for twenty years and the stadium is named in his honor. He passed away at age 72 in 2000.
Mike Kissner played football at Cardinal Newman High School from 1970-1972, where, by the 1972 season he was recognized as one of the greatest linebackers in the state. Mike was named to Coach and Athlete Magazine’s All -American Team as one of the Top 100 players in the USA. He was also named to the All Southern Team by the Orlando Sentinel, an honor in which only twelve players were selected from Florida. He was a member of the Florida All State Class 3-AAA First team, as well as the All Miami Archdiocesan Team. In 1972, he was named Palm Beach County Player of the Year by the Palm Beach Post. Since then, the Palm Beach Post has included Kissner in their All Decade Team. He is a member of the Cardinal Newman All Fifty-Year Team. At Cardinal Newman High School, he still holds the Crusader Record for the most tackles in a season with 119 in ten games, with an additional nineteen tackles in the Sertoma Bowl against Winter Haven HS. His performance in the Sertoma Bowl earned him the game award of Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Kissner was widely recruited by D-1 schools, but decided to sign with Florida State University, where he was recruited by Bill Parcels. In his senior year at FSU, he earned a starting role at offensive guard for Bobby Bowden. Kissner was a three-year letterman and an FSU Scholar Athlete for three consecutive years.
Coach McCormack completed his tenth season as head baseball coach at Florida Atlantic University in 2018 after serving eleven years as an associate head coach and seven years as an assistant coach. In 2017, he earned his 300th head coaching victory and has an overall record of 360-222-2. He guided FAU to its first Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship in his second season as a head coach in 2010; this achievement earned him the League’s Coach of the Year Award. In addition, Coach McCormack won the 2016 Conference USA regular season title in the team's third season in that league. He played an essential role in developing Florida Atlantic's nationally recognized program, acting as recruiting coordinator for sixteen seasons. During this span, FAU won 681 games, tied a national record for consecutive games won (34), participated in nine NCAA regionals and won the Tuscaloosa regional in 2002. Thirty players have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft during McCormack's ten seasons as head coach. A total of 124 FAU players that McCormack has recruited or coached at FAU have continued their professional baseball careers. McCormack was recognized as the AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2003. Before joining FAU, he played for Lynn University, where he earned All-Conference honors as a catcher and third baseman. He was named the All-Area Team MVP during his junior year. Coach McCormack is a long-time resident of Palm Beach County and attended Pope John Paul High School.
Mr. Smith spent the last twenty-eight years as a Palm Beach County high school teacher and coach as well as an official for track and field meets and wrestling matches. He has officiated at fifteen state track meets, twenty-five regional and district meets and has been the starter for the last eighteen years at Dick Melear-Palm Beach County track and field championships. As a wrestling official, he has worked ten state tournaments and twenty-eight regional and district meets. In 2008, he was named the FHSAA Florida Active Wrestling Official of the Year; in 2011 he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and in 2012 he was inducted into the PBC Wrestling Hall of Fame. He has been retired since June of 2016.
Budd Watson (posthumously)
Budd Watson was a pioneer for gymnastics in Palm Beach County. In the 1950’s, Watson introduced gymnastics programs at the West Palm Beach Recreation Department facility on 53rd Street and Spruce Avenue. He coached, taught and developed hundreds of children, including Gail Sontgerath, the first Olympic gymnast (1960) from West Palm Beach. He also introduced and developed Kim Chace, a two-time Olympian (’72 and ’76), at the Wells Recreation Center. Mr. Watson went on to produce gymnastics programs at Currie Park, Howard Park and the 40th Street Recreation Center. After his retirement from the city, he developed the gymnastics program at the Wells Recreation Center. A former Marine, Mr. Watson lived in West Palm Beach from 1942 until his death in 1969 at the age of 70.
Dr. Gary Wiren
Dr. Gary Wiren is a golf educator and a Master member of the Professional Golfers Association of America. He was a collegiate conference golf champion and worked for the PGA of America at the National Office in Palm Beach Gardens for 14 years, serving as National Education Director, Club Relations Director and Director of Learning and Research. Dr. Wiren founded and taught in the PGA World Junior Golf Academy serving youth golfers from all over the world. This academy was the first values based international golf camp in existence, thus providing a model of core values, Honesty, Responsibility, Perseverance, Sportsmanship, Integrity etc. for those that have followed. Dr. Wiren authored the PGA Teaching Manual, history’s most influential text on the art and science of teaching the game. He was the creator of the USGA/PGA Rules Workshop program, which has set the standard and competence level needed for those who serve as rules officials at all levels of golf competition, from Open Championships to State and local events. He was selected to be the keynote speaker in the First World Scientific Golf Congress held at St. Andrews University, Scotland, in 1990 and has lectured at Golf Summits in Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands, and the United States. He has written 14 books and taught in 32 countries. His popular and award winning, “When Golf Is a Ball,” was selected as the “best golf book” in the year 2004. He is the founder of Golf Around the World offering over 500 training products to teachers and players. He has 13 film credits and four videos on the market including the award-winning, “The Fascinating World of Golf,” Wiren was featured on ESPN’s “How to Play Your Best Golf,” and also “Par for the Course,” which was carried weekly in Japan on his own TV show and was seen in a series on the Golf Channel’s “Preserving the Game.” He is a national winner of the Golf Collectors’ Society wooden-shafted tournament. One of its premier collectors has won the South Florida Seniors PGA title and the South Florida long-driving championship. The championship was played in the USGA Senior Open and the PGA Senior Championship, which had six years on the professional panel for the 100 Greatest Courses. He is honored in six golf halls of fame in the United States including the PGA Hall of Fame, Seniors Hall of Fame and the World Golf Teachers’ Hall of Fame. He is currently the Senior Director of Instruction for Trump Golf, serving at Trump International in West Palm Beach since its opening 16 years ago.
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About the Palm Beach County Sports Commission
The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is a private, not-for-profit organization contracted by Palm Beach County to promote and market the County as a sports and sports tourism destination. The Commission brings sporting events and activities to the County, enhances economic impact, stimulates bed tax revenues (primarily in the off-season), and maximizes utilization of County facilities. The Commission offers a full range of event service support, corporate partnerships, sponsorships and a local membership program that supports its goals. Local, regional, national and international marketing efforts are ongoing by the Commission with sports organizations and event owners. The Commission also produces sport-related programs for the residents of Palm Beach County including the annual Lou Groza Awards Program, the Sports Hall of Fame and the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches. For more information on the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, go visit www.palmbeachsports.com.