Brevard County’s Diverse Sporting Achievers
By Space Coast Daily // August 30, 2021
Brevard County might not have a professional sports team, but we do have many notable sons (and daughters) who have gone on to achieve plenty on the world stage.
We’ve had minor league baseball teams, and we have the Brevard Blue Ducks, members of the United States Basketball League (USBL), but we have no professional sports franchise to follow. Instead, Brevard County residents are likely to follow Orlando Magic or Orlando City SC. That doesn’t mean we haven’t provided some notable people to the world of sports.
There are far too many Brevard County sons to mention in a single article, but we’ve picked out four to focus on and enjoy in this article. There are plenty more, but this is a flavor of how successful the county is as a breeding ground and how diverse the sports they succeed in.
CJ Gardner-Johnson – Football
CJ Gardner currently plays for New Orleans Saints, and he is one of many notable Brevard County sons to have succeeded in the sport. We’ve picked the Cocoa native as he is a player on the up; he was named in the PFWA All-Rookie team in 2019. He’s also a player who has already enjoyed a fair bit of controversy since graduated from UF, but he’s one to keep an eye on. Saints Watch explain how his first career sack was the fastest game week, and more are expected in the upcoming NFL season.
Oliver Askew – Motorsport
Oliver Askew, born in Melbourne, is a winner. At the age of 24 he is the reigning Indy Lights champion and last competed in the IndyCar Series, driving for Arrow McLaren SP.
In 2020, he finished 30th in the Indy 500, which Bwin report is a grueling 500 miles course of 200 laps. Like Gardener, he’s got a big future in IndyCar, having tested with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing at Barber Motorsports Park looking to improve his Indy 500 placing this season. He’s also taken part in the Daytona 24hr, so maybe even keep an eye out for him in the Le Mans 24hr in the future.
Tim Wakefield – Baseball
Does it get any bigger than winning a World Series? Tim Wakefield should know; he won it twice, in 2004 and 2007, with his beloved Red Sox.
The Melbourne-native spent 17-years with the team, from 1995 until retirement in 2012. When he retired, he was the oldest player active in the Majors and is something of a legend not just in Boston but the whole of MLB. He was known for his signature knuckleball and was nominated eight times for the Roberto Clemente Award, winning it in 2010, demonstrating the respect those in the game have for him.
CJ Hobgood – Surfing
Along with brother Damien, CJ learned to surf on the Florida waves and put his skills to great use, becoming world champion in 2001. He has also won the 2007 US Open of Surfing and the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach. It’s important to recognize him on the list as many states do not produce surfers, as they are landlocked. Still, his success is an example of the extreme diversity within the sporting achievements of our local athletes.