MIKE SOLIVEN: Has Won More Than 500 Games At Melbourne High, Appeared In Two FHSAA Final Fours
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Assistant Editor // April 16, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
2017 COACHING INDUCTEE
THE MAN WITH THE WHISTLE
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Melbourne Bulldogs boys’ basketball coach Mike Soliven is without a doubt the humblest, most self-effacing inductee in this year’s Hall of Fame class, and arguably in the five-year history of the ceremony.
Not wanting to take credit for any of his 512 career wins throughout his 27-year career, Coach Soliven says he’s just, “the man with the whistle.”
The son of Logi and Philleen Soliven, Mike grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and attended Episcopal School, where he played baseball for four years and basketball for two.
From there, Soliven attended the University of Florida where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in English in 1998, Masters in 1990 and met his wife of 25 years, Stephanie.
The Solivens are the proud parents of two daughters. Their oldest, Sarah, 21, will graduate from the United States Military Academy, and their youngest, Abagail, attends Melbourne High School where she is a ninth grader on the varsity softball team.
After graduating from UF in 1990, Soliven came to Melbourne High and began his coaching career, leading the Bulldogs girls’ varsity basketball team.
After winning 44 of his final 53 games for the lady Bulldogs, Soliven became the head coach for the boys’ varsity team.
They say people that are destined to do great things learn from people that have already accomplished them.
New to coaching, Soliven watched and learned from two coaches who combined to win over 1,300 games, appeared in 17 Final Fours and won five state titles between them, current Space Coast Sports Hall of Famers Mike Gaudy from Satellite and Astronaut’s Greg Hostetler.
Over the past 27 years, Soliven’s teams have won an average of 19 games per year and have appeared in two FHSAA Final Fours. He is the only coach to win a playoff basketball game at Melbourne.
When asking Soliven about his special memories, teams or players he repeatedly answers that all of them were special for so many different reasons.
He speaks of the 2010-11 team, which finished the season with just 11 wins, but somehow managed to fight through the tragic shooting death of their point guard Shaquille Farrie.
Soliven talked about the courage of Farrie’s brother, Jamie, who was a forward for him that season and put the team on his back, carrying them down the stretch to win their final five games of the year and make the post season.
Soliven doesn’t like to discuss his milestones, instead he prefers to talk about the players who are responsible for his success.
He notes there are too many to mention but does mention recent players like Noah Horchler, Austin Awad and Logan Folsom, who were all big contributors on this year’s record setting Eastern Florida State Titans basketball team.
He mentioned one of his first standouts, Al Spivey, who earned All-Space Coast Player of the Year honors after leading the Bulldogs to the Cape Coast Conference title in 1995.
CREATED RICH TRADITION AT MEL-HI
No story better describes how humble and quiet Coach Soliven is than when he recorded his 400th career win. For two days, only those closest to Soliven knew of the accomplishment until athletic director Fred Keeney computed the numbers and figured it out.
On January 12, 2017 the Bulldogs defeated Liberty High 60-56 for Soliven’s 500th win.
Keeney made sure the world knew this time and honored his coach by hanging a sign in the gym recognizing the career accomplishment. Soliven’s players always know where they stand and they know the Melbourne Bulldog way.
Attention to detail, giving your best effort on and off the floor and knowing that you represent someone and something 24 hours a day are just part of what it takes to play for Coach Soliven.
When Soliven was asked if one game stands out above them all, he replied, “The final one of the season. If we didn’t win our final game of the year that loss sticks with me for nine months. I’ll be thinking about our loss to Sickles until October, last year it was Blanche Ely in the Final Four.”
Soliven says, “I’m just happy I’ve been able to keep the basketball tradition at Melbourne going,” not even realizing that the basketball tradition he speaks of at Mel-High, is the one he created.
And whether he knows it or not, his program, like coach Gaudy’s and Hostetler’s at the time he arrived, is now the gold standard for Brevard County basketball.
CLICK HERE FOR BREVARD COUNTY SPORTS
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