Founded in 1956 as Southwest Miami Junior & Senior High School, this longtime educational hotbed was built to alleviate the crowding at Coral Gables High.
Officially opening its doors in 1959 as a high school, here is a school that boasts some impressive students as well as athletes.
Home to NFL, Major League Baseball and assorted athletic standouts, the Eagles have indeed been recognized nationally for the many students that they have produced.
There is no doubt that the amazing young men and women who started their career in the hallways of this school have gone on and made the purple and white very proud.
On Saturday night (7:00), February 25th, the scene will once against shift back to 8855 S.W. 50th Terrace as the Southwest Miami Sports Hall of Fame will welcome back many of its own for a night of recognition and memories.
From the 1961 Mile Relay team to such recognizable personalities such as Don Soldinger, Steve Tannen, Ron Pascarella, Johnny Williams, Andre Dawson, Kathy Moore Anguish, Martha Rodriguez Jaureguizar and Missy Penna, this school will honor these amazing athletes in the inaugural HOF event.
Organized by the Southwest Miami Sports Hall of Fame - led by President Mike Rosenthal, the spotlight will truly be shining for this special event.
WHAT A GREAT CLASS
The 1961 mile relay team set a school record that lasted for ten years. Running in the Flyin' L relays in Ft. Lauderdale, Ken Wieand ran the first leg in 51.8 seconds, Luis Carrerras (who sadly passed away in 2017) followed with a 52.5 leg, Dave Cameron sprinted the third quarter mile in 52.8 and Florian Stolfi ran the anchor leg in 49.9 seconds. The total time of 3:27.0 was faster than the state champions in two of the three Florida classifications that year as class A champ Winter Park High ran a time of 3:27.2 and class B winner Tallahassee Florida High ran a 3:33.5. Stolfi's final leg time was better than any of the members of the Miami News mile relay all-star team.
Don Soldinger was a two-year starter for the Eagles football team, but it was his coaching career that brought him fame. After graduating from Memphis State, he started coaching as an assistant at Coral Park and Killian before taking over as head coach at Southridge in 1977. In two stints heading up the Spartans program, Don was 104-35-1, winning two state championships in four appearances, and twice being selected Coach of the Year. His teams set a Miami-Dade County record for most consecutive victories with 29. He also had two stints as an assistant at the University of Miami, first under Jimmy Johnson, then on the staffs of Butch Davis and Larry Coker. Among the players he coached at The U are linebackers Micheal Barrow and Winston Moss along with running backs Edgerrin James, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis, James Jackson, Frank Gore, Najeh Davenport and Jarrett Payton. In Don's 16 seasons as an assistant at Miami, the Canes won 158 games, claiming 1987 and 2001 National Championships, and playing in 14 post-season bowl games. He is also a member of the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
Steve Tannen was the first Southwest athlete to be honored as Dade County High School Athlete of the Year, when the Miami Herald tabbed him for the award in 1966. He was also named the Herald's Track Athlete of the Year that season after finishing second in the state in decathlon. At the Florida relays his senior year, Steve was chosen the outstanding high school athlete after competing in the high hurdles, pole vault, high jump and the 440 relay. His school records in the 220-yard dash and the 120-yard hurdles were still in existence when those events were discontinued for metric distances. In 2007, 41 years after he graduated from high school, the FHSAA recognized him as one of the "100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years" of Florida high school football. Steve went on to become a first team All-American defensive back at the University of Florida where he is a member of the UF Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2006, the sportswriters of The Gainesville Sun chose him as No. 15 among the 100 greatest players from the first 100 years of Gators football. Steve became the first Eagle to play in the NFL after being drafted in the first round by the New York Jets. He retired after a five-year pro career.
Ron Pascarella won two state championships in the discus, one in 1961 and one in 1962. He was also a 3-year varsity fullback on the football team. His school record in the discus of 184 feet, 7 inches has lasted 60 years (so far) and was the fifth longest throw among American high schoolers in 1962. As a junior, Ron was 1st Team Miami News All-Star and recorded a third-place finish in state meet in the shot put. For his senior season, he was 1st Team Miami Herald All-City and Miami News in both discus and shot put and replicated his third-place finish in the shot put at the FHSAA state meet.
Johnny Williams was one of the most dominant high school wrestlers of his era along with being a star running back on the gridiron. A two-time state champion and All-American in wrestling, he was named the Miami Herald’s Dade County High School Athlete of the Year for the 1970-71 school year. Johnny never lost a high school dual meet wrestling match. His win in the 1971 state title match was his 48th consecutive victory. As a running back for the Eagles football team, Johnny scored 11 touchdowns as a senior and led the county in rushing yards with 854. This was despite being bothered by rib and back injuries. He was named All-Southern in football and earned a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he started for three years (freshmen weren't eligible to play varsity back then). Due to the incredible balance he had (probably due to his wrestling training), Johnny was extremely hard to tackle. Sadly, he lost his battle with cancer just three months before his election to the hall.
No Hall of Fame would be complete without the most famous Eagle of all, Baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. Andre suffered a serious knee injury while playing football for Southwest, one that curtailed his production. After drawing more attention from the scouts playing at Florida A&M, he was drafted by Montreal in 1975, reached the big leagues just 15 months later, and lasted 20 legendary years in the majors. He was the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1977 and the league's Most Valuable Player in 1987. An 8-time Gold Glove Award winner, "the Hawk" is one of eight MLB players with at least 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases during his career. He was such a feared hitter that Cincinnati intentionally walked him 5 times on May 22, 1990.
Kathy Moore was a trailblazer in girls' sports at Southwest. The Florida High School Athletics Association did not hold a state track meet for girls until 1975. Two years later, Kathy won state championships in cross country, the mile run and the two-mile run. She is one of only three athletes at Southwest to win three state titles. On October 29, 1976, she set the state record in cross country (then a mile-and-a-half course) with a time of 7 minutes, 54 seconds, knocking 7 seconds off the old mark. Her county record in the mile run stood for 42 years. Kathy, at age 17, set a national age group record in the two-mile run and still held the Southwest school records in the 880-yard run, mile run and two-mile run at the time those events were discontinued for metric distances. She was the leading scorer on the basketball team as a sophomore and junior and also lettered in volleyball, softball, and badminton. As a freshman at FSU, Kathy finished first in five of her seven cross country races and finished 26th in the country in the AIAW championships (the NCAA did not sponsor women’s events back then). She lettered three years in cross country and two years in track for the Seminoles.
Martha T. Rodriguez was a five-sport athlete best known for her accomplishments on the basketball court, for which she earned second team All-Dade honors as a senior, and an athletic scholarship to FIU. Named Southwest's top all-around female athlete by Delta Psi Kappa, Martha was one of five finalists for the Miami Herald High School Athlete of the Year award. She was also Southwest’s Silver Knight nominee in Athletics and one of 3 Honorable Mention winners county-wide. She was first team All-Dade in softball as a junior, batting .400, and first team All-Dade in volleyball as a senior. As a senior on the basketball court, Martha scored 32 points against Gables and 33 vs. Palmetto, outscoring the entire Panthers team. She went on to play four years for the Golden Panthers.
Missy Penna belongs on any Mount Rushmore of Southwest athletes. She is undoubtedly the greatest softball player in Southwest history and perhaps in Miami-Dade County history as well. Missy led the Lady Eagles to a state championship in 2004 with her dominance on the mound, allowing only one earned run all season. The Miami Herald Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2005, she was also named the Herald's Female Athlete of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Missy was selected as All-State her sophomore, junior and senior seasons, and the Florida 6A Pitcher of the Year in 2003 and 2004. A Wendy's Heisman state finalist, she also helped her volleyball team to the State Final Four her junior and senior years. Missy went on to Stanford University, where she majored in civil engineering, compiled a 25-3 record on the mound, was one of 10 finalists for the 2009 national player of the year award, a 2008 ESPN Academic All-District First team member and a two-time NFCA Scholar-Athlete.
If you would like to attend this impressive event, contact them at: https://www.eventcreate.com/e/swhof