HUNTER PINGSTON: Lead Rockledge To Two State Football Championships, NAIA First Team All-American
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Assistant Editor // April 18, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
2017 PREP INDUCTEE
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Winning back-to-back state high school football championships seems to be a tradition in Brevard County. Four Space Coast area high schools have accomplished the feat including the 2001 and 2002 Rockledge Raiders.
Those teams, which already feature two Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame inductees (2015) in head coach Chuck Wood and wide receiver Laurent Robinson, also featured Benita Holland, the school’s athletic director.
This year, the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame welcomes in another player from those great teams, starting quarterback, Hunter Pingston, the definition of an all-around athlete, as he starred on both the gridiron and diamond for the Raiders at Rockledge.
On the gridiron for the Raiders, Pingston started in his sophomore season at safety where he recorded 61 tackles had five interceptions and was named the team’s best defensive back.
The next two seasons would see Pingston develop into the county’s premier signal caller, as he passed for over 3,000 yards with 33 touchdowns and added another dozen on the ground with nearly 900 rushing yards.
While the individual accolades are great, Pingston spoke of the team accomplishments far more and emphasized how special it is to join those already in the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame from Rockledge.
“To be the fourth person inducted from those teams is quite an honor and one that really speaks to how special the people surrounding that era in the program are,” Pingston said.
Aside from winning the two championships, Pingston felt the biggest accomplishment of the team was the 2001 playoff run to win the first title, which involved beating Belle Glades Central in Miami.
Belle Glades had won 47 straight games and the three previous state titles and even scored first in the playoff game vs. Rockledge, but two Pingston touchdown passes, including a 69 yarder, helped propel the Raiders to the upset and onto the next round.
There, Rockledge faced and knocked off an undefeated Lake Wales team and then sealed the deal with a dominating 35-6 win in Tallahassee vs. St Augustine the following week for their first state championship in football.
The next season the Raiders again rolled into the playoffs but void of drama, as they knocked off five teams by a combined score of 161-37, including a 22-0 shutout win the state championship game.
Pingston dominated post season honors winning just about every award the region offered including offensive player of the year and elected to attend Bethel University where he could play both football and baseball.
STELLAR COLLEGE CAREER
As a football player, Hunter received numerous awards and accolades, including being named a two time NAIA First Team All-American and was also selected Mid-South Conference Defensive Player of the Year two years in a row.
As a senior, Pingston led the team with 76 tackles and capped off a college career accumulating more than 200 career tackles.
His 16 interceptions are still a school record for four years. He also played in the NAIA Senior All-Star Game in Kansas City, Missouri, where he was selected Defensive Player of the Game.
Pingston gives a great deal of his credit on the field to his dad, David ,and former Rockledge Raider head coach Chuck Wood – and his head coach at Bethel Dino Kaklis.
“I’ve been blessed to have an amazing father and play for two outstanding coaches in my life,” Pingston said.
Hunter finished his education at Murray State where he earned his Master’s degree in Occupational Safety and Health and is now a very successful Safety Manager at the Frito Lay plant in Warner Robins, Georgia.
Murray State was good to Hunter as he also met his wife Stephanie there and in 2010 the couple married. Both are now the proud parents of two boys, Jackson who is two and half years old and nine months ago welcomed Griffin to the family.
CLICK HERE to see all the members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
THE 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 12.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2017 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Announced, Induction Ceremony Set May 12
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame selection committee announced Thursday an impressive array of outstanding individuals to be inducted into the 2017 Class of the Hall of Fame.
Dozens of nominees were considered for the 2017 class in four categories including professional sports, college sports, high school sports and amateur sports.
Special honorary recognition will also be bestowed upon individuals and teams that have made significant contributions to sports on the Space Coast.
Space Coast Daily created the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, and has so far inducted more than 100 of Brevard County’s most outstanding athletes, coaches and sports personalities.
Serving on the committee are Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo, Vice President Giles Malone, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo, Managing Editor Zach Clark, Assistant Editor Alan Zlotorzynski, local youth sports advocate and promoter Mike Cadore, Friday Night Locker Room Founders Steve Wilson and Orville Susong, former Health First COO Larry Garrison, Cocoa Beach City Manager Jim McKnight and AAU Vice President Rusty Buchanan.
“The list of inductees for 2017 induction include athletes and coaches everybody knows – and some that may have been forgotten with the passing of time,” said Tom Palermo.
INDUCTION GALA & SPORTS AWARDS SET FOR MAY 12
The 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Sports Awards will be held Friday, May 12 at the Cocoa Beach County Club.
The festivities include a meet and greet with the area’s sports royalty, dinner and the induction proceeding which includes compelling video tributes of each of the inductees.
The 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame induction event, and the 2017 High School Breakfast of Champions recognition awards, are sponsored by Community Credit Union, First Choice Medical Group, SOAR, Clear Choice Health Care, BioCellular Therapies, Savings Safari, Spectrum Sports, Friday Night Locker Room, Dr. Sangiv Patel, Dr. Mark Pinsky and Rock Paper Simple..
FOR INFORMATION about the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, or to make a reservation, e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com or call 321-615-8111.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Tim Wakefield talks about his induction into the first class of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2017
• PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Joe Kohlbrand, Football; and Cory Philpot, Football
• COLLEGE CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Jason Arnold, Baseball; Michael Coffey, Bowling; Reggie Hannah, Basketball; Paige Kearns, Swimming; and Charles Wilson, Football.
• PREP CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Kristen Gordon, Softball; Ray Herring, Jr. Football; Katie Jackson, Soccer; and Hunter Pingston, Football.
• AMATEUR/REC CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Richard Chapman, Little League; Todd Erickson, Softball; Al Genchi, Youth Soccer; and David Kilgore, Running.
• COACHING CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Skip Arrich, Soccer; Tom Dooley, Baseball; Chuck Keener, Tennis; Steve Lamontagne, Golf; and Mike Soliven, Basketball.
• SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INDUCTEES: Jeff Carr, Eastern Florida State College; and Steve Englehart, Florida Tech.
• LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT INDUCTEES: Linda Anderson, Athletic Director; and Les Stafford, Volunteer
• SPORTS OFFICIALS INDUCTEES: Neely Dunn and Bob Walton.
• SPORTS JOURNALISM INDUCTEES: Hillard Grossman.
• SPORTS AMBASSADOR AWARD INDUCTEE : Gary Gregory, PAL Boxing.
• CHALLENGER AWARDS INDUCTEES: Brevard Special Olympics – Coach Cindy Dropeski, Athlete Chuck Conway and Volunteer Kathi Madden.
• TEAM OF THE YEAR: Cocoa High School 2016 Football State Champions.
• SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Jim Grimes, Basketball, Eastern Florida State College
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME