Beckham inducted into FHSAA Hall of Fame

Kelly Beckham, who retired as a basketball coach this past spring, has been inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

Beckham, who coached in Florida for 39 years, finished with 798 wins.

He led Gainesville High School to the 2009 Class 5A state championship and led the Hurricanes to the 2013 state semifinals. Beckham’s 2014-15 team finished 29-3 and were state runners-up and he finished with a record of 268-108 at GHS, including eight seasons of 21 or more wins.

While at Bronson, he led Bronson to the Class A state championship games in 1989 and 2002, finishing as state runner-up both times. 

Beckham is one of seven new members to the 32nd induction class.

“We are honored to commemorate these seven remarkable individuals and their careers, which have incredibly advanced high school sports in our state,” FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn said. “We are pleased to introduce them as the FHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2022.”

The newest class of FHSAA Hall of Fame inductees is (in alphabetical order):

  • Rusty Batcher, a multi-sport contest official who helped develop and implement the 3-man baseball evaluation program for FHSAA umpires. Batcher has officiated in more than a dozen FHSAA State Championship contests and upwards of 75 Final Four games in the sports of baseball, softball, volleyball, soccer, and football. He has served multiple terms on the FHSAA Officials Advisory Committee and the FHSAA officials exam writing committee.
  • Charles “Kelly” Beckham, an esteemed basketball coach with 798 wins and one FHSAA State Championship. Beckham spent the majority of his career coaching at Bronson High School and Gainesville High School, where he retired last year. He is a member of the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches Court of Legends and has been named Coach of the Year several times by the Florida Dairy Farmers and the Gainesville Sun.
  • Alex Bennett, an accomplished water polo and swimming & diving coach at Lake Nona High School and previously at Gulliver Preparatory School. Bennett has a combined 11 FHSAA Water Polo State Championships and has been named Coach of the Year several times by Florida Dairy Farmers, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, and USA Water Polo. He has served on the NFHS and FHSAA Water Polo Advisory Committees and has seen several of his student-athletes receive athletic scholarships.
  • Katherine Biddle, an instrumental school administrator of almost 30 years at Clearwater High School. Biddle developed a scholar-athlete award, recognizing over 300 student-athletes with a grade point average of more than 3.5, and was a catalyst for over 241 student-athletes receiving athletic scholarships. During her tenure, Clearwater won several team and individual FHSAA State Championship titles. Biddle was presented the Pinellas County Athletic Administration Leadership Award, Suncoast Football Coaches Association Outstanding Athletic Administrator Award, Coach of the Year awards, and belongs to the Kiwanis Track & Field and Clearwater High School Varsity Basketball Halls of Fame.
  • Don Latimer, a three-sport student-athlete at Fort Pierce Central High School. Latimer participated in football, track & field, and basketball throughout his high school career. He was named St. Lucie County Athlete of the Year and received All-State and All-Conference honors multiple times for football and track & field. Latimer went on to play football for the University of Miami and later, was drafted as the 27th overall pick to the Denver Broncos.
  • Clarence “Burgess” Owens, Jr., a two-sport student-athlete at Rickard High School. Owens Jr. was among the first four African American players to integrate a historically white high school football team. He was named first team All-Big Bend in football and basketball and won a regional championship in football. Owens Jr. became the third black student to be awarded a football scholarship at the University of Miami, where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. He was selected by the New York Jets in the first round of the NFL Draft and eventually won a Super Bowl Championship with the Oakland Raiders. Owens Jr. founded “Second Chance 4 Youth,” a non-profit dedicated to mentoring, teaching, and preparing youth, and is a member of the U.S. Congress.
  • Joseph Underwood, a decorated contest official who has served the FHSAA in over 972 football and flag football contests for more than 36 years. Underwood has officiated in over 35 postseason contests and three FHSAA State Championships. He was instrumental in the formation of the Greater Miami Athletic Conference Flag Football Officials Association and assisted with establishing FHSAA Flag Football rules. He also played a big role in the implementation of the Sideline Safety Rule in football. Underwood belongs to the Miami High Alumni Association Sports Hall of Fame, Athletic Trainer’s Association Hall of Fame, American Football News Today Football Hall of Fame, and the National Teachers Hall of Fame.
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