The Gibbs Gladiator Alumni Association inducted 13 new members into its Hall of Fame on Friday, Jan. 13, in the Gibbs High School auditorium.
BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — For nearly 30 years, the Gibbs Gladiator Alumni Association has been celebrating extraordinary athletes and inducting them into the Gladiator Hall of Fame. This year’s induction ceremony is the first in two years due to COVID-19. It’s also the first ceremony since the death of Minson Rubin, who was the driving force behind the association.
The 2023 ceremony took place on Friday, Jan. 13, in the Gibbs High School auditorium, where 13 outstanding athletes were honored for their football, basketball, baseball, swimming and wrestling prowess.
The first award given away was the Minson Rubin Award. The award honors a student who exemplifies all of Rubin’s qualities of respect, excellence, and pride.
“He was a coach, he was a teacher, he was a father,” said assistant principal Michael Marchado. “As long as I’m here as the athletic director, the award is not gonna go to anyone that doesn’t exemplify what Minson Rubin did because he was such a special person.”
The first Minson Rubin Award was given to Jabari Corbett, Jr., who’s an excellent football player, maintains a high grade-point average in the BETA program, has never needed any disciplinary action and maintains an overall great attitude.
Marchado asked for a moment of silence for Minson Rubin’s wife, Jeanette Rubin, who passed away tragically in a car accident three days earlier. She had planned to present Jabari with the award.
Minson Rubin II was on hand to say a few words about his father, stepmother and the Gibbs Alumni Association for honoring their own year after year.
“My dad’s looking down and is very proud right now,” Rubin II said.
Melvin Albert Brown, son of Rev. Paul and Melissa Brown, was born on April 10, 1952, in St. Petersburg at Mercy Hospital. Raised in the Jordan Park Projects, Brown began to play sports with the Gray YMCA while attending Jordan Elementary School.
While attending Sixteenth Street Junior High School, under the coaching direction of Coach Robert Jenkins, he played basketball and football. He was a starter on the basketball team in the eighth and ninth grades and was the starting running back during his ninth-grade year. To exemplify his unique talent, Brown scored seven touchdowns during one of his football games!
He was Gibbs High School’s first sophomore to start at the running back position. Brown was an All-Conference selection in both his junior and senior year while also being named All-State his senior year. He also played basketball under Coach Freddie Dyles. He was a member of the 1969 Gladiator basketball team that won the FHSAA Class 1A State Championship.
In 1970, while attending Fisk University, he was the starting running back during his freshman and sophomore years. He was named All-Conference two years in a row. Brown averaged 6.7 yards a carry as a freshman and 6.4 yards a carry as a sophomore. He returned to St. Pete and received an associate degree from St. Petersburg Junior College in 1974.
In 1975, Brown married Julie Blount, now deceased, and enlisted in the military. During his military appointment, he and his family spent three years in Germany. After returning home in 1978, Brown became a licensed electrician and was accepted into the electrical union of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, where he is still a member.
He plans to retire later this year and spend more time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Tom Carter, Jr.
Tom “TC” Carter, Jr. is a 1970 Gibbs High School graduate who played basketball under Coach Freddie Dyles.
Carter played junior varsity basketball during his sophomore year, 1967-68. That team went undefeated with a record of 22-0. In his junior year, 1968-69, the Gladiators won the FHSAA Class A State Championship in Jacksonville.
After graduating from Gibbs in 1970, Carter accepted an athletic scholarship to Florida Memorial College in Miami. After a year in college, he returned to St. Pete, married and started a family.
Carter is active in the community and sports. His love for sports led him to become a basketball official. He has served as the Booking Commissioner for Pinellas Area Referee and officiated basketball games for both the FHSAA and Pro-Am basketball for the City of St. Petersburg.
He also had the opportunity to work for the WNBA in 2019-20. And the Toronto Raptors in 2020-21. He is a member of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church’s Hospitality Ministry and the St. Peterburg Masonic Lodge #109.
Carter is the proud father of two children, Dr. Tom Carter, III (who played in the NFL for 10 years) and Shana Carter, a registered nurse. He has five grandchildren and two great-grandsons.
Ronald Coar graduated from Gibbs High School in 1969. His outstanding school basketball career began in ninth grade at Sixteenth Street Junior High School, where Coach Bobby Jenkins recruited him to play basketball. As a starter, he and his teammates won the City Junior High School Basketball Tournament.
He went on to play basketball at Gibbs High School under Coach Freddie Dyles. Coar was a starter on the school’s junior varsity and varsity teams. His team won the 1969 Florida High School Athletic Association Class A State Championship.
Standing 6’2″, Coar was known for his rebounding and jumping skills. He was a reliable scorer and made great layup shots, and was ranked 11th on the Pinellas County top 25 Players list.
After graduating from Gibbs, he played for St. Petersburg Junior College. Coar started his own businesses: RC Record Shop and RC Lawn Services, and was a real estate investor. He also worked for Shell Oil and retired from Pinellas County Public Utilities after 20 years.
Coar enjoyed coaching Little League football and basketball in his spare time. He also officiated high school basketball games. On April 19, 2017, he transitioned to his heavenly home. His wife, Diane Coar, accepted his award.
Quincy Ford was born in 1993 to Alfredo and Denise Ford. While he was homeschooled, he played three varsity basketball seasons under Coach Larry Murphy.
As a senior in 2010-11, Ford was named the Tampa Bay Times Pinellas County and Suncoast Player of the Year. He averaged a team-best 17.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and nearly 2 blocks. His 6’8” frame kept opponents from driving in the lane.
In the same season, he helped guide the Gladiators to district and regional championships and an appearance in the FHSAA Class 5A state semifinals. Ford capped his high school basketball career by participating in the Pinellas County and Florida State All-Star games.
After high school, Ford attended Northeastern University on a basketball scholarship. As a member of the Huskies basketball team, he was named to numerous pre-season and All-CAA teams. He was named the 2015 CAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player and participated in the NCAA March Madness.
Ford graduated from Northeastern with a degree in psychology. He signed his first professional contract with the Utah Jazz and played in the G-League. Basketball has afforded him the opportunity to play in more than five countries and travel to more than 20.
Ford’s mother, Denise Ford, accepted his award.
Native son Terry Fuller graduated from Gibbs High School in 1968. He was a member of the Esquire Club, an All-State wrestler and a team captain. As the son of Hubert and Minnie Fuller, he was born into a very physically gifted and prominent family in the Wildwood community.
At an early age, Fuller excelled in sports. While on the Wildwood Barracudas swim team, he was state champion in the butterfly for his age group in the All-Black swim league in Florida. After he left swimming, he joined the Sixteenth Street Junior High School wrestling team coached by Roger Jones.
The team participated in the Tampa Invitational Wrestling Tournament in the ninth grade at the George Howell Fieldhouse. Wrestling at 138 pounds, Fuller defeated three college wrestlers to win his weight division and was named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. He beat a Tampa University wrestler and two others from Florida State to win the honors.
At 15, he joined the weightlifting team at the Police Athletic League and became the state champion in his weight class. Fuller was tapped for the Olympics when he cleared and jerked 205 pounds, which exceeded the nationally recognized record of 115 pounds for his weight class.
At Gibbs, Fuller was an All-State wrestler three years in a row and team captain. He was offered a scholarship to attend Florida A&M University but was drafted into the U.S. Army. He made a career in the military, fighting in both the Vietnam and Desert Storm wars. He then became a military policeman.
Fuller was married to his wife Cora for more than 40 years and had four children, all the loves of his life. His brother, Norvell Fuller, accepted his award.
Michael V. Jones
Native son Michael V. Jones was born in 1954 to Iveta Jones Martin-Berry, a pharmacist and community activist. He is the grandson of Henry Jones, owner of Henry Jones Service Station.
At Gibbs, Jones played in the marching band managed by Professor Reynolds Davis and for the Gladiator football team coached by Al Campbell.
During his senior year, Jones played running back and defensive back. He also served as the number-one punter on special teams. He was selected to the Pinellas All-County Team with an honorable mention. As a student, Jones served on Student Government and was awarded an athletic scholarship to Howard University.
At Howard, Jones became a three-year letterman in football as a defensive back and punter for the Howard University Bisons (Division One MEAC Football Conference). He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1977.
Jones had a 30-year career at Verizon, eventually supervising a workgroup of 30 men, and was responsible for maintaining Verizon’s high-speed network in the Maryland Patuxent region. He was recognized and awarded as a manager for leadership, safety, and productivity. While at Verizon, he also became a certified computer programmer.
After leaving Verizon, Jones and his wife Robin started a technology communications consulting business, Starspan IT, LLC, now a registered government contractor, providing quality service for the federal government.
Jones is involved in several community activities, including coaching sports at the local Boys and Girls Clubs, being president of the Trent Hall Homeowners Association, being a member of a historically Black sailing club and a member of Ebenezer AME Church.
He is the proud father of a son and daughter and has five grandchildren.
A 2011 graduate of Gibbs High School, Deion Miley played basketball under the leadership of Coach Larry Murphy. He led the team in 3-point shooting; however, he was mostly known for his ability to get into open spots and knock down jumpers. From highly contested shots to “buzzer beaters,” he never shied away from the big moments.
Deion Miley played along with his twin brother, DeVante. They were a huge part of the Gladiator’s success during their spectacular run to the Florida High School Athletic Association 5A State Final Four in 2011. That season, the Gladiators were district and regional champions. He holds the record for the most 3 points in a game and achieved nine 3-pointers in one game.
During his senior year, Deion Miley was selected to play in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference All-Star Game. After graduating, he attended Rainy River Community College, where he continued to play basketball.
Currently, Deion Miley is an African-American Bone Marrow Technician at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
DeVante Lee Miley
Born May 1, 1992, DeVante Lee Miley played four years of basketball at Gibbs High School, with three of those years on the varsity level. Known for his crafty playmaking skills and deceptive dribbling, he wowed the crowd on many occasions. He played alongside his twin brother Deion Miley, where they starred as a dynamic duo and produced well nightly.
DeVante Lee Miley’s leadership was evident as he was elected team captain and helped lead the Gladiators to the Florida High School Athletic Association Final Four in 2011. During that magic season, the Gladiators were district and regional champions, and he was named the Berkley Prep Christmas Tournament MVP for his outstanding performances.
After graduating in 2011, DeVante Miley attended Rainey River Community College and is currently employed as an African-American Bone Marrow Technician for MD Anderson Cancer Center, the number one leader in cancer research.
Clarence Robinson, Jr.
Clarence Robinson, Jr. graduated from Gibbs High School in 1980. While excelling in track and basketball, football was his passion. He played running back, free safety and kick returner for the Gibbs Gladiator football team.
During his tenure at Gibbs, he was named the Evening Independent Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance in Gibbs’ 19-7 victory over Dixie Hollins High School. Defensively in that game, Robinson, Jr. caught an interception, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had four unassisted tackles. He also caught a 47-yard pass on a surprise fake punt. Robinson, Jr. was also named 2nd Team All-City and 2nd Team All-Conference as a free safety.
After graduating from Gibbs, he served in the United States Army for seven years. During his time in the army, he became a sergeant, squad leader and supply sergeant, spending three years in Germany.
Robinson, Jr. has been happily married to his wife Beverly for 17 years and counting. He has three sons, a stepdaughter and five grandchildren.
Born Aug. 11, 1951, to Harrison and Emma Rogers in St. Petersburg, Douglas Rogers attended local schools before enrolling at Gibbs High School.
He belonged to a family of talented athletes, with two of his older brothers playing in the NFL, and his sister displayed skills and leadership on Gibbs’ basketball team. Rogers starred as a standout offensive lineman at Gibbs for three consecutive years.
He was strong at opening gaping holes for the running backs to get through. Rogers was a quarterback’s “best friend” because of his ability to protect them. The coaching staff called on him to play on both sides of the ball in many games. If a defensive lineman was injured and not performing, he was inserted to fill the gap.
Rogers was well-respected by his teammates. During his senior year in 1969, he was selected as team captain.
After graduating in 1969, he attended Florida A&M College. He met and married his wife Patricia in 1983. He was the proud father to six children. On Aug. 12, 2001, the heavenly Father called him home. His wife, Patricia Rogers, accepted the award.
Born to Gibbs High School alum Dionne Walters, Gary Simon graduated from Gibbs in 2012.
While at Gibbs, he garnered numerous athletic accolades in football, basketball, track, and baseball. During his sophomore year, he made the varsity football team. Simon was a member of the first football team in school history (2009) to win the Florida High School Athletic Associate district championship, with a record of 6-5. More impressively, the Gladiators started the season 0-3 before six consecutive victories.
As a senior in football, he was honored as the 2011 Florida Athletic Coaches Association District 14 MVP, 1st Team All-District, All-State and Associated Press 5A Defensive back after recording 7 interceptions, 24 pass breakups and 35 solo tackles. He further impressed the crowd and college coaches by catching 33 passes for 649 yards, 7 touchdowns, and throwing for 489 yards and 5 passing touchdowns.
Simon participated in the Pinellas County All-Star game and was invited to participate in the Under Armour All-American game. He was listed as a 4-star recruit by 24/7 Sports.
He capped his senior year by leading the Gladiator basketball team to their first Pinellas County Athletic Conference Championship since 1988. He averaged 18.4 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals a game. With his nightly highlight reel slam dunks and crossovers, Simon was named the 2011-12 Tampa Bay Times Player of the Year, the Pinellas County Athletic Conference MVP.
He participated in the 2012 Pinellas-Hillsborough Basketball All-Star Game and won the dunk contest at the all-star game.
After graduating in 2012, Simon accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma in football and basketball. He also played football at Valdosta State.
Morris B. Tampa
Attending Gibbs High School for three years from 1964-66, Morris B. Tampa was a member of the basketball and football teams, the marching band and a very high-achieving student in the drafting program.
As a starting defensive end on the varsity football team, Morris excelled as a pass rusher and other designated tasks throughout the games. As a varsity basketball team member, he was a strong rebounder and defensive player.
Academically, he was selected to represent Gibbs in a statewide drafting competition in Tallahassee. He won first place in a very competitive field of students across the state. He also played trombone in the school’s highly acclaimed marching band.
Unfortunately, Morris suffered a devastating injury to his shoulder in a football game that cut short his athletic and band participation. However, he continued his athleticism in the summer basketball league in the City of St. Petersburg’s Recreation Department. He was one of the most dominant players in the state’s most competitive league.
Morris moved to West Palm Beach to work for a major defense contractor based on his drafting skills. While there, he dominated on the basketball courts around the city. Soon Palm Beach Community called, and he joined the basketball team.
He captained the team and led them to their first winning season ever. He received several honors, awards, and recognitions.
Morris later attended East Tennessee State University on a basketball scholarship. He was again the team’s star player, a leading scorer and a rebounder. There was talk of a possible shot at the NBA draft, but he suffered a severe knee injury.
His nephew, Marques Tampa, accepted the award.
Joseph Vaughn, Jr.
Born in Boston, Joseph Vaughn, Jr. moved to St. Pete with his family and started attending Gibbs High School. He was known for his calm demeanor off the basketball court but for his tenacious defense and immaculate jump shot on the court. This earned him a starting spot on the team in his junior year.
He would use those same skills to help his team win a district championship in 1967-68, the Florida High School Athletic Association Class A State Championship in 1969 and paved his way to community college, where he also excelled on the court.
He transferred that same passion and skill into the kitchen, where he created amazing dishes for his family and those he served while working as a chef for many years before retiring to Ft. Pierce in 2008.
While basketball was his passion, the most important love of his life was his wife and children. A lover of Christ and a superfan of the Boston Celtics and New England Patriots, Vaughn, Jr. worked hard and always tried to instill valuable lessons into his children, mainly that life would only give you what you put into it.
Vaughn, Jr. took the bad with the good and tried his best to be a good person. He knew no strangers and was always quick to lend a hand, a kind word or a listening ear. He departed this earth on Jan. 12, 2016. He is truly missed by all who knew him and a lot more by his family, mainly his children and grandchildren.
His son, Joseph Vaughn, accepted the award.