Sarasota High sets induction for Sept. 25; Riverview's 10th annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction will be Nov. 1

When the guy behind the Sarasota High School Hall of Fame had his vision morph into reality, the plan, Matt Drews said, wasn’t to dump money into an account.

“The idea wasn’t really a fundraiser,” the former Sailor sports star said. “It really still isn’t.”

Perhaps, but the cash raised from the first two celebrations certainly helped Drews’ alma mater. Two years ago proceeds went toward the Sailor football team and a new weight room.

The 2018 gala raised $30,000 earmarked for the weight room that is scheduled for completion two weeks before this year’s Hall of Fame gathering on Sept. 25 starting at 6 p.m. at Michael’s On East.

This year the event will raise funds for a new Carefree Learner, the 41-foot boat launched in 1978 and docked at Marina Jack that allows students and adults to observe marine life in Sarasota Bay.

“Time for a new one, so they have a campaign,” Drews said.

Different than the Hall of Fame at Riverview High School, which recognizes former Ram sports stars, the Sarasota High hall isn’t limited to athletics.

“And that’s why we have the Eddie Howell Award,” Drews said, “obviously named after coach Howell, but the definition of the award is anybody who has spent their life for the benefit of children.

“You could have gone through Sarasota High School and never been an athlete, but you spent your life benefitting children, that’s an award.”

This year’s recipient of the Eddie Howell Award will be Dr. Bill Clyburn, who, in 1963, became a test case for integration by becoming the first black student to attend Sarasota High.

Earning the Sarasota Hall of Fame Community Steward Award on the night of the 25th will be Karen Stottlemyer Eastmoore, a former Sailor swimmer who spent more than 20 years involved in fundraising and philanthropic endeavors around Sarasota.

But Sailor sports legends will be honored as well. Former Sarasota High football coach and athletic director Charlie Cleland will be recognized, with son Chip scheduled to attend for his late father. Two-sport star Ray Suplee, who hit .591 as a senior and starred on the Sailor football team, will be honored as well.

Sailor cheerleading coach and equestrian lover Buff Betz accepted Drews’ offer to take part in the event, but died last month. Her daughter will attend for her.

“When my dad died in high school, my sister was still in high school for a couple years and Buff was so important in her life,” Drews said. “Just a great role model.”

One other Sailor alum who wished to remain anonymous until the night of the event also will be recognized.

Tickets are $150 each and can be purchased at https://www.sarasotahalloffame.com. In addition Opus Capital Advisors of Raymond James and the Sarasota accounting firm of Suplee & Shea have stepped up to become co-presenting sponsors. And an anonymous donor has pledged to match up to $10,000 the proceeds raised that night.

Riverview High, meanwhile, will hold its 10th annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction on Nov. 1 prior to the Rams’ game that night against Sarasota High.

A meet and greet at 5 p.m. in the school gym will be followed by ceremonies and an introduction of the inductees to the Ram Bowl crowd.

Scheduled to be honored include girls state weightlifting champion Yasha Washington; teacher and longtime football coach Con Nicholas; multi-sport star David Howard; Riverview graduate and supporter Dave Ruth; teacher and athletic trainer Lloyd Dee Daughtery; coach and teacher Al Baker; and state champion pole vaulter Joe Davis.

According to Riverview alum Jim Ward, who championed the plan to create the hall, the list of deserving Rams isn’t close to being exhausted.

“We started so late,” he said. “We have 60 years at the school and had so many great programs and athletes. We want people to come in and see these people, meet them and be a part of Riverview High School.”