– From Left to Right: Jeff Johnson, Vince Carter, Shannon Miller, Elaine Larsen, LeRoy Butler, Greg Coleman and Tom Coughlin –
Jacksonville, FL — A stellar class of athletes was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame tonight in a celebration hosted at the historic Florida Theatre In Jacksonville. The seven-member 2023 class represents five different sports and includes an eight-time NBA All-Star, an Olympic gold medalist, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, a two-time Super Bowl winning coach, and a pioneering jet car driver.
“How exciting to be able to recognize such a talented, accomplished and diverse group of athletes,” said Rick Hatcher, President and Chairman of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame board. “Their contributions to their sport, their communities and impacts they’ve had on a worldwide stage make this a remarkable class. We are honored to welcome them as the newest members of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.”
The Florida Sports Hall of Fame 2023 Class (in alphabetical order)
LeRoy Butler – Football
A three-year starter (1987-89) at Florida State, this Jacksonville native was a first-team All-America selection of AP, UPI and Walter Camp (1989). In 1990, Butler was drafted in the 2nd round (48 overall) of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. In his 12 seasons with the Packers, Butler was a 4x First-team All-Pro. He recorded a sack in the Packers’ Super Bowl XXXI win over the New England Patriots, and he is recognized as the creator of the Lambeau Leap touchdown celebration. Butler was named a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team and was enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. In 2022, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Vince Carter – Basketball
Born in Daytona Beach, Vince Carter is an eight-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA Team selection. He is the only player in NBA history to play 22 seasons and in four different decades, from his debut in 1999 to his retirement in 2020. He has been touted as the greatest dunker of all time. In addition to his dunking prowess, he was a prolific three-point shooter, making the sixth most three-point field goals in league history. He led his Daytona Mainland High School basketball team to its first Class 6A state title in 56 years, and was a 1995 McDonald’s All-American.
Greg Coleman – Football
Known for being one of the first African American punters in the NFL, and one of only a few punters to be drafted, Greg Coleman spent 12 years in the league, playing for the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, and the Washington Redskins. A product of Florida A&M University, Coleman earned the nickname “Coffin Corner” because of his ability to aim his kicks near the corner of the playing field. He was selected by the fans to be a member of the Viking 40th Anniversary team. He is a member of the Florida A&M Football Hall of Fame and is also a member of the State of Florida Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Tom Coughlin – Football Coach
In eight seasons as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2002), Tom Coughlin helmed the most successful expansion team in league history. During his tenure, the Jaguars made four consecutive playoff appearances and appeared in the AFC Championship Game twice — the first in only the second year of the team’s existence (1996). Coughlin would again take the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game in 1999 after achieving a league-high 14–2 regular season record; the 14 wins stood as the most won by the current wave of expansion teams until the Panthers surpassed it in 2015. Following his stint in Jacksonville, he moved on to lead the New York Giants to victory in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI.
Jeff Johnson – Baseball Coach
Jeff Johnson has built Chipola baseball into one of the premier JUCO programs in the country and compiled an outstanding overall record of 986-460-3 record (.680) over 27 seasons. Johnson led the Indians to their first National Championship in 2007 then repeated the accomplishment with back-to-back National Titles in 2017 and 2018. His teams have won 14 Panhandle Conference Championships and six FCSAA/Region VIII Championships, including three consecutive titles from 2017 to 2019. More than 100 players have been drafted out of Chipola since he became head coach. His programs have produced an impressive 19 MLB players and four MLB All-Stars.
Elaine Larsen – Jet Car Racing
As one of only a handful of jet dragster pilots, only a few of whom are women, Elaine Larsen has been a pioneer in the sport. She spent 20 years racing in over 1400 races and is a two-time winner of the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series. Passionate about STEM advocacy, she founded Blazing Trails, a non-profit that has connected 1000’s of students with exciting, hands-on experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. She’s currently the sole testing driver for Larsen Motorsports, a research center that partners with the Florida Institute of Technology and designed to contribute to all high performance vehicles with safety innovations, aerodynamic testing, and material testing located in Palm Bay, FL.
Shannon Miller – Gymnastics
Shannon Miller is one of the most decorated US gymnasts in Olympic history, with a total of seven medals. She was the 1993 and 1994 world all-around champion, the 1996 Olympic balance beam champion, the 1995 Pan American Games all-around champion, and a member of the gold medal-winning Magnificent Seven team at the 1996 Olympics. With a combined total of 16 World Championships and Olympic medals between 1991 and 1996, she is the second-most decorated American gymnast, male or female. She was also the most successful American athlete at the 1992 Olympics, winning five medals.
About the Florida Sports Hall of Fame
In its 62nd year, The Florida Sports Hall of Fame continues its mission to honor our vast sports heritage by taking the inspiring stories of its 289 current members to the people of Florida. This outreach comes in the form of a preview center for housing memorabilia provided by the members, the hosting of an annual enshrinement for the purpose of inducting new members into the Hall of Fame and other outreach programs such as Fame for Fitness which raises awareness about the growing concern of childhood obesity and children’s diabetes. To learn more, visit www.FlaSportsHOF.org.