When Plant girls cross county coach Roy Harrison got a note from his athletic director Friday to call the Florida High School Athletic Association immediately, Harrison feared the worst.
“As usual I thought I was in trouble,” Harrison said, “but I wasn’t.”
Far from it.
The FHSAA announced Friday that Harrison is being inducted into its Hall of Fame.
“This is a big one,” Harrison said. “It’s nice to be appreciated for all the hard work. A lot of times guys have to wait until they’re retired and old and gray. I’m pretty honored to be put in.”
Harrison’s 32-year career is one of the best in Tampa Bay history, with 27 consecutive trips to state. His Panthers have won 21 district championships, 20 region titles and won state 10 times. The five-time state coach of the year also coached seven individual state champions.
Harrison will be formally inducted at a ceremony in Gainesville on April 27. This year’s other seven honorees are:
· Robert Barnes, a multi-sport athlete at Cocoa and a baseball player in UF’s Hall of Fame
· Martin Bielicki, a multi-sport coach in Martin County who won two state volleyball titles
· Longtime basketball referee Nile Dixon
· Longtime multi-sport official Richard Esterline
· Gerald Odom, who led Merritt Island to back-to-back state football titles
· Longtime Brevard County coach and administrator Gary Shiffrin
· Donald Suriano, who won three state titles and more than 500 games as a baseball coach in Jacksonville.