To celebrate Father’s Day 2019, we asked a cross section of Tampa Bay athletes and coaches to share what their fathers mean to them. Here’s their tributes, and Happy Father’s Day.
Berkeley Prep boys basketball coach Renaldo Garcia on his father, Rigoberto, a longtime coach at Nathan B. Young Middle School and a Tuskegee University athletic Hall of Famer
“He has always supported me, in every way. The way he treats others has taught me to be kind, even when the world is not.”
LSU and former East Lake outfielder Aliyah Andrews on her father, Michael, a circuit judge
“He is not that typical softball dad. He was never overbearing. He is always encouraging, always positive. He let us find our own way.”
Former USF safety Devin Abraham on his father, former Bucs cornerback Donnie Abraham
“When I started to realize I was pretty good at football and that I could have a chance to play at college, I told him that if I could be half the person or player that he was, then I’d be pretty successful at life. His response was, ‘You’re on a pretty good path right now. At this age, you’re already better than I was,’ so I figured I was doing pretty well for myself.”
Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Macklin Robinson on his father, Robert Louis Robinson II, an officer with the Cincinnati Police Department
“Like an unstoppable force, he has lived every day of his life as an example for me, selflessly working hard to provide our family with every opportunity he possibly can. My father gave me the tools I needed follow my dreams.”
Lightning team reporter Caley Chelios, on her father, Chris, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame
“I don’t know where I would be without the love, support and encouragement my dad has given me my entire life. His work ethic, devotion to his family and incredible drive inspires me everyday. He’s my hero.”
NASCAR driver and Hillsborough High alumnus Aric Almirola on his father, Ralph
“He was always working – either working at being a firefighter or all of his other side jobs, or working at a hobby. … Just growing up and being around him, watching his work ethic and enjoying those memories of being a kid and being around him at the race track, and riding on the four-wheeler with him to go push my grandfather off for the feature (race).”
Golfer Brittany Lincicome and her father, Tom
“He’s the one who started me in everything involving sports, and obviously in golf. He still travels with me every week. Together we’re like Yin and Yang. There are definitely times when we butt heads because we’ve got identical personalities. But he understands what it takes to do what I do, and he’s always there for me with great advice. “
Former Calvary Christian baseball player Christian Cairo on his father, Miguel, a former major-league infielder
“I wouldn’t be the player I am today without him. He helped me see the little details as well as the big picture of the game. He really taught me how to be a man on the field.’’
Florida Gators volleyball player Chanelle Hargreaves on her father, Vernon Hargreaves II
“My dad is such a positive light in everyone’s lives. Being a college football coach is a tough job, he inspires me everyday with how he faces adversity and the challenges between wins, loses and coaching changes. Most of my favorite memories with my dad are when we go to bowl games and we get to explore the new city together and find the best food.”
Former USF and Fivay High tailback Davion Sutton on his father, Harold
“He taught me a lot of things that I was hard-headed about. I really didn’t listen, I didn’t know what the reason was, because I was young. But it was basically because I guess he went through the same things I went through, but he didn’t succeed because he made some mistakes. ... I just always thought he’s a strict dad, but I understood later the reasons why.”
Lightning right wing Alex Killorn and his father, Matt
“My dad means everything to me. I am grateful for the sacrifices he has made to get me to where I am today. I try to model my character to his as closely as I can.”
USF pitcher Georgina Corrick on her father, John
“He instilled in me a passion for learning, a fear of mediocrity, as well as a love of The Twilight Zone, of all things. Some of my fondest memories are of him sitting on a bucket and catching me when I first began to pitch.”
Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy on his late father, Wilbur.
“He was teaching in Alexandria, Va., but he couldn’t teach in the white schools and he couldn’t sit in certain sections on the bus, so he decided to walk. He wasn’t going to ride on the bus, ‘I’m going to walk past the white school and teach those kids in the black school science, so when things do change, they’ll know as much science as kids in the white school.’ That was what he could do to make it better. That was 1952. So, 2006, we win the Super Bowl, and we’re called to the White House. And we’re riding to the White House through Alexandria, Va., and I’m sitting in the front seat. It was just a generation later. My dad died in 2006. He didn’t get to see it, he didn’t get to take that ride, but he was with me, in the front seat riding to the White House.”
WFLA-Channel 8 sports reporter/anchor Annie Sabo on her father, former major league baseball player Chris Sabo
“He suggested I go into sports broadcasting since my favorite subject in school was gym. As one can imagine, this didn’t fly with my parents. I appreciate his advice all the way from Akron, Ohio, where he is the head baseball coach of the (University of Akron) Zips.”
Jim McVay, Outback Bowl president/CEO, on his father John, former NFL head coach and executive
“He lost his dad as a child and helped provide for his family as a young boy. ... The professional success is nice, but more important, he is a very humble, modest person known for his high character, integrity and generosity which makes him truly special.”
Florida State softball coach Lonni Alameda on her father, Dave
“I will always cherish the lessons of giving to people no matter where they are in life from my dad. I will always take with me the love for adventure and the humble nature to appreciate the little things.”
USF offensive quality control assistant Kade Bell on his father, Kerwin, USF offensive coordinator and former Gators/NFL quarterback.
“He taught me to always be a man of your word. He is the most competitive guy I know and that’s why I hate to lose. He is the reason I am the husband and coach I am today.”
Rays relief pitcher Adam Kolarek on his father, Frank
"He was a baseball player himself too, so we kind of have our relationship where we not only share baseball, but we're able to kind of relate as players. ... I was in the minors for a long time; it's not like I'm for sure a big-leaguer every single day. I know the ups and downs of what can happen, but so does he. So I think when I was really grinding through the minors and unsure of what the future was gonna hold, he was able to help me out so much just emotionally, to survive and to persevere that little extra bit."
Former Air Force Academy volleyball player Ariana Mosley on her father, Anddrikk Frazier, former USF and Tampa Prep basketball player.
“I knew that he knew a lot about what I was going through and how much work I put in. Everything he always told me was extremely helpful. He provided a lot of wisdom and experience for me.”
Bucs general manager Jason Licht on his father, Ron.
“He never missed a game in junior high or high school, he was always there to support me. You could see the pure enjoyment he got any game, any practice he was at. Besides his faith and family, it gave him the most joy.”
Tributes compiled by Times Staff Writers Matt Baker, Thomas Bassinger, Mari Faiello, Martin Fennelly, Ernest Hooper, Joey Knight, Diana Nearhos, Rodney Page, Bob Putnam, John Romano, Rick Stroud, and Marc Topkin.