Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dillard Legend Otis Gray Passes Away

Otis Gray, one of the greatest high school football coaches in Broward
County and South Florida history, passed away today after battling
colon cancer. He was 62 years old. Nobody represented Dillard High
School with more pride than Gray. In 1979 he left his job as head coach
atBoca Raton High School to return to his alma mater--Dillard--where he graduated in early 1960s back when Dillard was the one of three all-black high schools in Broward County during segregation.

In his 13 years as Dillard head coach, he changed the Panthers football
program from a struggling inner city school into a state and national
power. His accomplishments included a 107-55 record, two Class 4A state
championships (1986 and 1989) and a Class 4A runner-up finish in 1990.
His 1990 team was ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation by USA

But more important than his record is the impact he had
on young men in the Dillard community. Many of them came from some of
the toughest streets and neighborhoods in FortLauderdale and went on to
college scholarships and successful careers both in and out of
football. Some of them became superstars in college and the NFL. They
include former Michigan State All American and NFL running back Lorenzo
White, former NFL Pro Bowl receiver Isaac Bruce and Auburn and NFL
receiver Frank Sanders.

Gray was truly one of the elite coaches in the history of high school football in South Florida. He's one of only 3 coaches in Broward County history to win multiple state titles. (George Smith of St. Thomas Aquinas and Mark Guandolo of Chaminade-Madonna are the others.) He's also a member of the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame.

Perhaps Gray's greatest accomplishment is making Dillard a better
school and leaving a huge legacy that will be tough to duplicate. He
will be missed.

Dade and Broward football coaches with multiple state titles:

Nick Kotys (Coral Gables): 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968
George Smith (St. Thomas Aquinas): 1992, 1997, 1998
Walt Frazier (Carol City): 1996, 1997, 2003
Otis Gray (Dillard): 1986, 1989
Don Soldinger (Southridge): 1991, 1993
Billy Rolle (Northwestern/Killian): 1998, 2004
Mark Guandolo (Chaminade-Madonna): 2003, 2005

Notable Athletes who played for Otis Gray:

Mark Richt- Played for Gray at Boca Raton High School, head coach at Georgia
Lorenzo White- All American at Michigan State, Houston Oilers
Isaac Bruce - Former NFL receiver with the Rams
Frank Sanders - Former Auburn and NFL receiver
Claude Jones - Former UM offensive lineman
Otis Mounds - Former Auburn defensive back
Calvin Jackson -Played for the Dolphins in the 90s
Hyland Hickson - former Michigan State running back
Wendal Lowery - former Parade All American quarterback

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