University of Miami

UM coach Randy Ableman among those to be inducted into Florida Sports Hall of Fame

Randy Ableman is as proud as he can be about being elected to yet another Hall of Fame — this time the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.

It’s just that he never really has time to consider his impressive accomplishments because he’s still achieving them.

“It’s the weirdest thing,” the University of Miami head diving coach said by phone Thursday night. “All these other guys have had their careers and can reflect back. I’m still in the middle of mine. I’m still grinding every day. We had two workouts today.

“I guess I haven’t had time to reflect on the good old days because I’m still trying to make them the good old days.”

Ableman, 56, will join an illustrious class that includes two other men with UM ties — former UM safety Bennie Blades and former long-time radio broadcaster Sonny Hirsch, who is being inducted posthumously.

Ableman, Blades and Hirsch will be inducted Nov. 17 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, the first time the 54-year-old organization will have its enshrinement in South Florida.

Joining the three in the Hall: Former Miami Marlin Jeff Conine, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, former Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas, former Florida Panthers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, former bowling great Paula Carter and former Jai Alai great Joey Cornblit.

“A big-time Canes football fan,” Ableman said he goes to just about every home game. But the pool is where he made his distinguished career.

Ableman has coached at six Olympics, all of his divers from UM. He became the UM coach in 1989 and is a nine-time NCAA Diving Coach of the Year, leading his teams to an NCAA-record 23 national titles.

A four-time All-American diver at the University of Iowa, Ableman was a 10-meter diver along with Greg Louganis for the 1980 U.S. team that boycotted the Moscow Games.

He already is a member of the Iowa and UM Halls of Fame, but said he was blown away by the names of the other inductees.

“Every name I couldn’t believe,” said Ableman, the father of 12-year-old Samantha and UM sophomore Charlotte. “Jeff Conine. Vanbiesbrouck. Dungy. I don’t think of myself in that class. We don’t have professional athletes in my sport. Even that they looked at a sport like diving is really cool.”

UM’s Blades is a native of Fort Lauderdale. He was a co-winner of the Jim Thorpe Award with Oklahoma’s Rickey Dixon in 1987 and ended his UM career as the school’s all-time leader in interceptions, with 19. He spent 10 years in the NFL, finishing his career as the second-leading tackler in Detroit Lions history.

Hirsch, who died in 1999, was the well-loved voice of the Miami Hurricanes for 28 years.

  Comments