High School Sports

Miami Herald honors Huttenhoff with posthumous award

grichards@miamiherald.com

The Miami Herald's Lifetime Achievement Award in Honor of Damian Huttenhoff was presented to Donna Huttenhoff (center) by Herald Sportswriter Bill Daley, alongside Rocky Gillis (left) and Herald Sportswriter George Richards (right) at the Miami Herald Broward Athletic Awards banquet at Signature Gardens in Davie on Thurs., May 25, 2017.
The Miami Herald's Lifetime Achievement Award in Honor of Damian Huttenhoff was presented to Donna Huttenhoff (center) by Herald Sportswriter Bill Daley, alongside Rocky Gillis (left) and Herald Sportswriter George Richards (right) at the Miami Herald Broward Athletic Awards banquet at Signature Gardens in Davie on Thurs., May 25, 2017. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

A few years back, Miramar played host to Hallandale in a preseason football game.

It was a typical steamy August afternoon in South Florida, the sun beating down on the field, no shade or breeze to be found.

On the sideline, Broward County athletic director Damian Huttenhoff stood in the heat, his face covered in sweat, his Broward County Athletic Association golf shirt soaked.

“This is,” he said with a smile, “the place to be.”

For almost 20 years, Huttenhoff helped mold the BCAA into something more than just an organization which scheduled games for its collection of public and private high schools.

Along with former football coach and principal Don Cifra — and, later, former Blanche Ely football coach Rocky Gillis — Huttenhoff and the BCAA created numerous endeavors that helped student-athletes gain more exposure and, in turn, scholarship money.

Huttenhoff was credited for creating numerous all-star games as well as championship tournaments in sports like basketball with the money raised going to scholarships benefiting athletes from around the county.

Last May, Huttenhoff retired after 33 years with the Broward School District — the final 19 working with the BCAA.

To celebrate his retirement, he and his wife Donna embarked on a vacation in Greece.

On June 22, Huttenhoff had a heart attack and died. He was 60 years old.

Thursday morning in Davie, Huttenhoff was awarded the Miami Herald's Lifetime Achievement award posthumously at the annual All-Broward Breakfast at the Signature Grand.

Accepting the award was Donna Huttenhoff; Gillis, the county athletic director, and Damian’s replacement at the BCAA, Shawn Cerra, also came on stage.

Cerra said Huttenhoff planned to stay on and work with the BCAA as an adviser in his retirement.

“Damian really left a legacy,” said Cerra, the former Taravella principal. “The foundation he laid for the BCAA is second to none in the country. Hopefully we can take it to another level, but we'll never forget him and what he did.

“He’s a legend within Broward County schools. This was a tremendous honor for him and I’m so glad Donna was able to be here to accept it for him.”

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