Dr. Ed Jeffries Joins Polk County Sports Hall of Fame
LAKELAND - Former women's tennis coach Dr. Ed Jeffries became the latest Florida Southern representative into the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame as he was inducted at the 14th Annual Polk County All Sports Awards Banquet on Tuesday evening in Sikes Hall at The Lakeland Center.
Along with inducting Jeffries into its 2014 Hall of Fame Class, the organization also inducted three FSC graduates into the Hall of Fame as longtime Bartow High School volleyball coach and athletic director Marnee Cobb, longtime Sante Fe Catholic High School baseball coach Dave Saliba and Polk State Athletic Director and former baseball coach Bing Tyus were also enshrined on Tuesday evening.
Cobb ('74) was a member of FSC's club volleyball program in 1972-73 before the introduction of intercollegiate athletics for women in the late 1970s, while Saliba graduated from FSC in 1982 and Tyus played baseball for the Mocs under Hall of Fame coach Hal Smeltzly.
In addition to the Hall of Fame inductees, senior men's golfer Tim Crouch was honored as the Polk County Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year, while the softball team earned special recognition for their act of sportsmanship against Eckerd. Crouch and sophomore women's swimmer Ali Crenshaw were also recognized in the Circle of Champions segment after both of them won individual NCAA Division II national championships during the 2013-14 school year.
Dr. Jeffries, who is the 13th member from FSC to be inducted into the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame, joins the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame from Florida Southern after spending 18 years (1981-99) as the Moccasins' head women's tennis coach. In his 18 year coaching career with the Mocs, Jefferies, who is already a member of the both the FSC Athletics and Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fames, compiled a 261-158 record and led FSC to 11 SSC titles and three appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including a program-best fifth-place finish at the Division II National Tournament. Was named the SSC Coach of the Year six times (1985, '86, '87, '90, '91, '95) and earned the Wilson-ITA National Coach of the Year accolade in 1991 and was a two-time Florida USPTA Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1991. In his time at FSC, Jeffries also coached six All-Americans and one Academic All-American and had a 100 percent graduation rate. Along with serving as the women's tennis head coach, Jeffries also was an assistant coach for the soccer, baseball and women's tennis teams at FSC. Served as a professor in FSC's Physical Education Department and was named FSC's Professor of the Year by Omicron Delta Kappa in 1999 and has written numerous journal articles on tennis.
Crouch earned the Polk County Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year Award for the second consecutive season after winning his second consecutive Division II individual national championship at the 2014 Division II National Championships at the Meadows at Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich. He is one eight Moccasins to win an individual men's golf national title and the first to ever win consecutive national championships. In addition, the Mt. Vernon, Ohio, native, is just the third D-II men's golfer to ever win back-to-back national titles and first since Valdosta State's Briny Baird won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995 and just the fourth D-II men's golfer to win multiple national championships as along with Baird, Tampa's Jeff Leonard won back-to-back national titles in 1986 and 1987 and Cal State-Chico's J.J. Jakovac, who won titles in 2002 and 2004. Along with winning a second consecutive individual national championship, Crouch was also named a repeat First-Team PING Division II All-American, a PING/GCAA All-South Region honoree, earned first team All-Sunshine State Conference honors for the second consecutive year and was named to the 2014 Nicklaus Team for the second straight season.
On the season, Crouch finished the season with 18 rounds of par or better golf, including a season-low round of 66 in the second round of the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational hosted by Columbus State and recorded a 71.97 scoring average in 32 rounds of golf and 11 tournaments. In addition, he was the Mocs top finisher in seven of their 11 events, including winning his final two collegiate tournaments as he took home first place honors at the NCAA D-II South/Southeast Super Regional at Savannah Quarters Golf Club in Pooler, Ga., to earn a spot in the national championships as an individual. He is the just third Moccasin to win a Polk County Male Collegiate Athlete of the Year accolade as former baseball player Nick Diyorio was honored in 2006 and is the first repeat male honoree since former South Florida quarterback Matt Grothe won in both 2007 and 2008.
The softball team earned special recognition for sportsmanship from the Polk County Sports Marketing Committee for their involvement in helping an injured player from Eckerd College in a season-ending doubleheader on April 26. In the first game that day, the Moccasins led the Tritons 2-1 with two out in the top of the seventh inning. Eckerd's Kara Oberer, who had left the game in the first inning with a knee injury, was re-inserted into the lineup as a hitter with two runners on base and hit a 3-run homer to put her team ahead. Unable to run after collapsing near first base, she was assisted around the bases by the Moccasins, led by sophomore second baseman Leah Pemberton and senior pitcher Chelsea Oglevie. The act of sportsmanship has since been featured by numerous media outlets around the country, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, and MLB.com.
Crenshaw earned her Circle of Champions accolade after winning a second consecutive national championship in the 1,000-yard freestyle at the 2014 NCAA Division II National Championship Meet in Geneva, Ohio. With her win in the 1,000 free at this past year's national championships, Crenshaw is first-ever Moccasin swimmer to win back-to-back national titles and one of two just national championship swimmers in the program's history as Mary O'Sullivan won national titles in 2011 in both 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle. Her national championship helped propel the Moccasins to a seventh-place finish as a team. At the 2013 National Championship Meet, Crenshaw won national championships in both the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyles.
At this year's NCAA D-II National Championships, Crenshaw earned All-America honors in five events (1,000 free, 1,650 free, 500 free, 200 free relay and 800 free relay) and honorable mention honors in the 1,650 freestyle. During the season, Crenshaw, who was a CSCAA All-American honoree and earned SSC Swimmer of the Week honors on Oct. 21, 2013, won a total of 17 races, including winning two individual titles in the 200 and 500 freestyles at the 2014 SSC Championships. She went undefeated in all five of the 1,000 freestyle events she swam and was the only D-II swimmer to break the 10 minute mark in the 1,000 free. At the SSC Championships, Crenshaw was named the Swimmer of the Meet after scoring 57 points as she won titles in the 200 and 500 freestyle and was the SSC runner-up in the 1,650 freestyle. In addition, she swam on FSC's SSC Championship 200 and 800 free relay teams.
The All Sports Awards Banquet will be broadcast by tape delay on Bright House Sports Network (Channel 47 in Lakeland) on July 3 at 7 p.m., July 4 at 9 a.m., July 5 at 2 p.m. and July 6 at 5 p.m.