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Five Chosen for Highlander Hall of Fame

Induction Ceremony May 4

 

Last updated 4/16/2019 at 7:22pm

Three former professional athletes, a coach who won two state titles, and one of the program's most ardent supporters make up the inaugural class for the newly-created Highlander Hall of Fame.

Pro football players Lorenzo Hampton and Buford Long, along with pro baseball player Pat Borders, softball coach Nancy Denton, and "The Voice of the Highlanders" Richard "Dick" Howell will be inducted May 4 during a dinner ceremony at Lake Wales Country Club.

"The Highlander Booster Club is beyond excited to begin a tradition for our school and community that we feel will bridge a gap from the past to the present" noted one of the organizers, booster club secretary Shelli Jacobs. "The Lake Wales community is deep rooted in its love for everything 'Highlander.' If you are from this area, you wear the tartan plaid or orange and black colors with sincere pride, and if you are new to the area you can't help but yearn to be a part of these traditions."

"We are so excited about this event and hope that it becomes an anticipated event for the Lake Wales community for years to come," Jacobs added.

Denton helped bring the sport of softball to Lake Wales in 1986, sometimes arriving with homemade cookies to practice to entice would-be players to show up, and eventually served as head coach for 29 years. Her teams won two state championships, 12 district championships, 10 regional championships and six of her teams made it to the final four.

While her numbers are impressive, it's the character she brings to the sport and the Lady Highlanders that also set her apart, according to the committee which selected the first-ever class. Lake Wales High School's only named field is the Nancy Denton Softball Complex.

Howell played basketball and baseball at LWHS and then went on to play baseball at Polk Junior College. He was involved in Lake Wales Little League for 18 years as sponsor, coach, board member and umpire. In 1990 he became involved with the Highlander Booster Club.

He announced roll call for LWHS Graduation ceremonies for 13 years. Serving as the "Voice of the Highlanders" for all home football games (27 years), boy's basketball games (24 years), and baseball games (22 years) he has earned the title "Mr. Highlander".

Hampton excelled at football in high school and college and became a professional football player. He went to the University of Florida on a football scholarship and was a first-round draft pick in the NFL draft in 1985 when the Miami Dolphins took him as the 27th overall pick in the first round. He scored 28 touchdowns in his pro career under coach Don Shula. Today he runs a charitable foundation entitled Lemon-Aid Makers which runs summer football camps for inner city elementary and middle schools in south Florida where he resides.

Long, who passed away in 2006, was a multi-sport high school and college player who went on to also play professional football. He attended the University of Florida where he earned varsity letters in football, baseball and track and field. He played defensive back and end in the NFL after being the 55th overall selection in the 1953 draft. After his professional football career, Long returned to Lake Wales and was a devote supporter of Lake Wales High School Athletics.

Borders was a multi-sport high school player who was offered a duel-sport scholarship to Mississippi State University as both a baseball and football player. He was drafted in the sixth round of the MLB Draft to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1982, and in 1992 was the World Series MVP, when he hit .450. He was also behind the plate for the team's only no-hitter when Dave Stieb turned that trick in 1990.

He is one of only four players to have won both a World Series Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal (2000). He preparing to serve as manager of the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Philadelphia Phillies affiliate in the Class A New York-Penn League. He is that club's all time leader in wins and games managed with a four-year mark of 154-147.

The dinner ceremony will also include a cash bar, silent auction and 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $50 each, and can be purchased through the group's website at http://www.lwboosterclub.com. For additional ticket or sponsorship information, you can also email the group at lwhsboosterclub@gmail.com.

The Highlander Booster Club is a not-for-profit organization started by local parents and school personnel over 50 years ago. The purpose of the Highlander Booster Club is to assist in the financial support of athletic activities and to conduct fundraising activities

and solicit contributions from individuals, businesses, other charitable organizations and government agencies.

The Booster Club works closely with the school and the teams, not only to assure that their financial needs are met, but also to ensure that they feel supported by the community.

 

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