WATCH: Coach Lee Mace Won Six High School Football State Championship Rings
By Space Coast Daily // May 26, 2022
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
WATCH: SIX RINGS – Coach Lee Mace came to Merritt Island High School in 1969, serving as an assistant coach under Eddie Feely. There he helped build some dominant Mustangs football teams, most notably the state champion teams of 1972, 1978 and 1979. As an assistant coach under John Wilkinson, Coach Mace helped lead the Tigers to the state championship “three-peat” in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – There are not very many people walking this planet that can make the claim that they led six high school football teams to the Florida State Championship.
Coach Lee Mace, grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, playing high school football as a running back, and then went on to attend the University of Tennessee, playing running back under Coach Doug Dickey.
Mace came to Merritt Island High School in 1969, serving as an assistant coach under Eddie Feely. There he helped build some dominant Mustangs football teams, most notably the state champion teams of 1972, 1978 and 1979.
The 1972 team was arguably the greatest Space Coast high school football team ever assembled, led by NFL star Leon Bright, and fellow Space Coast Sports Hall of Famers Jimmy Black and Waldo Williams.
Coach Mace temporarily left the Mustangs to become a college assistant coach under Gene McDowell at Kansas State University.
However, Kansas is not Florida, and Mace soon returned to the Space Coast and coached at Melbourne High School as assistant football coach and head track coach, being recognized as the All Space Coast Track and Field Coach of the Year in 1977.
In 1978, Coach Mace returned to Odom’s staff at Merritt Island and helped build two more state championship football teams, in 1978 and again in 1979, and that’s three if you’re keeping track. Coach Mace then continued with the Mustangs through the end of the century.
As the years went by, Mustangs Hall of Fame baseball coach and athletic director Chuck Goldfarb would take the athletic director position at Cocoa High School, and then proceeded to recruit Merritt island’s “Dream Team” of coaches – including head coach Gerald Odom, Mace and Gerald Hodgin – to eventually assist Coach John Wilkinson in building another high school football dynasty.
With Mace’s induction, all four are now members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
As an assistant coach under Wilkinson, Coach Mace helped lead the Tigers to the state championship “three-peat” in 2008, 2009 and 2010. That’s now six rings if you’re still keeping track.
Mace stayed on at Cocoa High for a few more years, but briefly retired right before the Cocoa Tigers won their fourth state championship in 2016. No, not officially a seventh ring, but he helped build that championship team for sure. Among the notable players he coached were NFL standouts Jamel Dean, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and Juwaan Taylor.
He finished his career as an assistant at Cocoa Beach High under Coach David Lowe who Mace just happened to coach when Lowe played at Merritt Island High School: Talk about “full-circle” for a great career.
Coach Mace still resides in Merritt Island, enjoying retirement with his wife Vicki, traveling often to Vermont to watch their grandson play basketball. Life is good for Coach Lee Mace, as is his legacy.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT 2022 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION, call 321-323-4460 or 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com.
CLICK HERE TO SEE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
The Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame selection committee announced the induction of both the 2020 and 2021 classes will take place on Friday, May 13, 2022, live on Space Coast Daily TV. The induction of both classes was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the classes will be inducted “virtually” on Space Coast Daily TV on Friday, May 13 beginning at 7 p.m.
The live TV program may be viewed worldwide free of charge and will include interviews with Brevard’s star athletes and personalities, including compelling video tributes of each of the inductees.
The Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame induction event will be live “virtually” on Space Coast Daily TV, beginning at 7 pm on Friday, May 13, 2022.
The video program on Space Coast Daily TV will include interviews with the area’s sports royalty, including compelling video tributes of each of the inductees.
The 2020–2021 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame induction event, and the Brevard County High School Breakfast of Champions recognition awards, are sponsored by Health First, Erdman Automotive, All Points, Clear Choice Health Care, Savings Safari, Friday Night Locker Room and Rock Paper Simple.
INDUCTEES SELECTED IN FOUR CATEGORIES
Dozens of nominees were considered for the 2020 and 2021 classes in several categories including professional sports, college sports, high school sports and amateur sports.
Nominees are chosen in four categories including professional sports, college sports, high school sports and amateur sports. Special honorary recognition is also bestowed upon individuals and groups that have made significant contributions to sports on the Space Coast.
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2021:
■ PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY INDUCTEE: Amber Torrealba, Skimboarding; Randy Pobst, Auto racing
■ COLLEGE CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Lynisha Nelson, Basketball; Bryan Cook, Baseball; Steve Freeman, Soccer
■ PREP CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Julie Wollrath, Cross Country; Kaira Simmons, Track & Field; Cameron Harris, Jr., Football
■ AMATEUR/RECREATION CATEGORY INDUCTEE: Alli Penovich, Free Diving
■ COACHING CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Lee Mace, Football; Jim Oler, Basketball
■ SPORTS OFFICIAL INDUCTEE: Klaus Stafe
■ SPORTS JOURNALISM INDUCTEE: Capt. Eric Ciocher
■ SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INDUCTEE: Charles Clemente
■ LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT INDUCTEE: Larry Garrison
■ SPORTS AMBASSADOR AWARD INDUCTEE: Rusty Buchanan
■ CHALLENGER AWARD INDUCTEE: Jordan Episcopo
■ TEAM OF THE YEAR: Astronaut High School Bowling
■ LEGACY CHAMPIONS: Merritt Island Baseball, 1999-2000
■ SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Fred Gay
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 2021 INDUCTEES PROFILES
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2020
• PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Jamel Dean, Football; Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Wrestling; Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Football; Mark Lake, Skateboarding; Juwaan Taylor, Football
• COLLEGE CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Derek Hamm, Football; Paulette King, Basketball; Dylan Lewis, Soccer; Melanie Murphy, Softball
• PREP CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Lexy Denaburg, Volleyball; Apryl Bigham Nickson, Swimming; Andi Sellers, Soccer
• AMATEUR/RECREATION CATEGORY INDUCTEE: Peter Blount, Track & Field; Karina Villegas, Sled Hockey; Caylor Williams, Wrestling
• COACHING CATEGORY INDUCTEES: Sean Ballard, Wrestling; Doug Butler, Cross Country and Track; Aubin Goporo, Basketball; Gerald Hodgin, Football; Bill Sinclair, Softball; Don Smith, Basketball
• SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INDUCTEE: Loren McClanahan
• LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT INDUCTEE: Clint Hurdle
• SPORTS OFFICIAL INDUCTEES: Ted Ruta
• SPORTS JOURNALISM INDUCTEES: Steve Vaughn
• SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INDUCTEE: Judge A.B. Majeed
• SPORTS AMBASSADOR AWARD INDUCTEE: Congressman Bill Posey
• CHALLENGER AWARDS INDUCTEES: Brevard Special Olympics
• TEAM OF THE YEAR: Satellite High Cross Country
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE 2020 INDUCTEES PROFILES
Space Coast Daily created the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and has so far inducted more than 200 of Brevard County’s most outstanding athletes, coaches and sports personalities.
Serving on the committee are Space Coast Daily President & Publisher Tom Palermo, Partner Giles Malone, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo, Managing Editor Zach Clark, the Friday Night Locker Room’s Steve Wilson and Orville Susong, Sports Editor Juan Rodriguez, Social Media Director Matt O’Hern, Assistant Editor Jordan Rocco, Digital Producers Ron Lighthall, Gavin Keith and Michael Malone, Production Director Brian Dillon, Sports Broadcaster Daryl Durand and Amateur Athletic Union President Rusty Buchanan.
The main athletic building on the Melbourne Campus hosts the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, as portraits of the Hall of Famers are displayed on the wall in the building’s main hallway that runs parallel to the gym and outside the athletic department offices.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Tim Wakefield talks about his induction into the first class of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame. Space Coast Daily created the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and has so far inducted more than 200 of Brevard County’s most outstanding athletes, coaches and sports personalities.