GARY GREGORY: Founder of University Boxing Gym, Provides Opportunity For At-Risk Youth
By Maria Sonnenberg // May 6, 2017
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Gary Gregory – 2017 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame
TEACHING DIGNITY, SELF ESTEEM
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – You could say Gary Gregory is a magician of the highest order, for Gregory, the man behind University Boxing Gym, can take a kid facing a very uncertain future and turn him into a pillar of society.
If that isn’t magic, then what is? The boys who seek his help at the gym are often at the end of their rope, even though they may not have even yet reached puberty.
“A lot of my kids are throwaways in a living hell, but they find opportunity in boxing,” said Gregory.
When he takes a youngster under his wing, Gregory is not looking for the next champion, although his training has produced Olympic athletes and professional boxers.
Instead, he strives constantly to help that boy gain, through the sport of boxing, the dignity and self-esteem he will need to succeed in life, whatever career path he takes.
To say Gregory – who has been singled out for the Ambassador Award by the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame nominating committee – lives and breathes boxing is an understatement.
His weekdays are spent training the young boxers and his weekends entail trips around the state so the young boxers can test their mettle against others.
In the business for more than four decades, Gregory knows how tough it can be to grow up on the wrong side of the tracks.
Wrestling was his first love, but boxing soon followed, although Gregory admits he had his limitations with the latter.
“I was a good wrestler but never a good boxer, but I knew enough about the ins and outs of boxing to carry my own,” he said.
Gregory had the great fortune to work for legendary Hall of Fame boxing manager and trainer Lou Duva, who handled the careers of 19 world champions and trained heavyweight titleist Evander Holyfield, plus welterweight wonders and Olympic medalists Pernell Whitaker and Meldrick Taylor.
“I had the great fortune to work around great fighters,” said Gregory.
At a party back in the 1990’s, guests who worked for the Department of Juvenile Justice asked Gregory if he would consider starting a boxing gym for at-risk youth.
“I told them I’d need a building and they said they would get me a building,” said Gregory.
“I told them I needed equipment and they said they would get me equipment and I told them I needed money and they said they would get that, too. I kept throwing roadblocks figuring none of this would happen, but it did.”
TRAINER OF CHAMPIONS
In a section of Melbourne with a high concentration of at-risk kids, an empty warehouse donated by Glover Oil Company stood by the side of the railroad tracks.
“Joe Glover offered us the building and we’ve been here since 1994,” said Gregory.
At any given time, 30 or so kids ages eight to 15 spend most of their free time training with Gregory and his staff. They are not just students, they’re family, and for some of the students, Gregory and the gym may be the best thing that ever happened to them.
“They know they have a family and that this family is going to show up for them,” said Gregory.
ABOVE VIDEO: Gregory has trained his share of champions, including 14-year-old Omari Peebles, who won the National Silver Gloves championship earlier this year.
Gregory has trained his share of champions, including 14-year-old Omari Peebles, who won the National Silver Gloves championship earlier this year.
Peebles, who has trained with Gregory since he was eight years old, now is the No. 1 ranked junior lightweight in the country and has his eyes set on the Olympics.
Not many of Gregory’s kids achieve such high distinction, but they all always remember the life lesson’s Gregory taught on the ring and out.
“Being a champion is fantastic, but there is more to boxing than being a champion,” said Gregory.
“Boxing teaches life skills. It helps make you successful. It gives you the confidence to step up to the plate, no matter what life throws your way.”
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ABOVE VIDEO: Gary Gregory, speaking from his boxing gymnasium, talks about his feelings of being inducted into 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
CLICK HERE to see all the members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
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