Our ongoing look at the Class of 2017
During the 2017 football season, Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School inducted a new class into its Athletics Hall of Fame.
We continue to take a look at the Hall of Famers.
Chuck Gannon – Lifetime dedication to coaching, part of 15 state championships
This, the fall of 2017, represents the first season in over 30 years that Coach Chuck Gannon hasn’t taken the field with one of his teams. For his entire career, Chuck has dedicated himself to making his Shark-coached teams everything that he’d expect from himself. Twenty-two of the Chuck Gannon-coached teams would reach the state playoffs. Aa a coach or athletic director, he has been associated with 15 of Port St. Joe High School’s state championships. These include Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Track & Field. ….An Impressive Feat!
It’s noteworthy to point out that Chuck Gannon returned as Head Football Coach in 2012 and helped to rebuild the “elite” Shark Football Program that exists today. Following the 2013 season, Chuck was selected to Coach the FACA (Florida Athletic Coaches Association) All-State Team (North).
Among his many attributes, Chuck Gannon was selected to the FACA Hall of FAME in 2015; The Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year in Baseball and Basketball; 5 Fred Rozelle FHSAA Sportsmanship Awards; and, the Nobles Family “Desire and Dedication Award.”
While not originally from Florida, Coach Gannon quickly fell in love with Port St. Joe High School and this community. He and his wife, Sue, are both retirees of Gulf District Schools, and both of their children, Matthew and Megan, are graduates of Port St. Joe High School. Chuck and Sue seldom miss a Shark game, and rumor has it that if you were to cut Coach Gannon, he would bleed purple and gold.
Duane McFarland – A competitor, a gamer, an exemplary Shark
You can only begin to describe Duane McFarland by what he really is - - - a Competitor! From little league through high school – college and coaching, Duane brought a “ready to play” attitude to the game. He’s a gamer!
To say Duane McFarland’s career began at Port St. Joe High School would be an understatement. In earnest, it began in the shadows of his older brothers, Eddie and Larry, in the back yard and on the Dixie Youth baseball fields in Port St. Joe, Duane was just one of those rare kids who had real focus on mastering technique and his assigned position at an early age. Truth is, he worked at it, so by the time he was in high school he was an easy choice for coaches to choose. By his freshman year Duane would be a letterman on, to that date, the only Shark Baseball Team to reach the state championship in 1975. That Shark team would lose a late-inning lead to Gainesville, Santa Fe by a run for the championship. Almost two decades later, Duane McFarland, as head baseball coach, would lead his Shark Team to the first state championship in 1997 over FSU Florida High School. During his playing days as a Shark, Duane would be a big part of celebrated Shark greatness. He was a multi-year letterman in football, baseball, and basketball. As a player, his Shark teams would again reach the State Final Four in 1977. For 1977 and 78, Duane would make the All-Conference teams for football and baseball, thus catching the eye of college and pro scouts. Duane continued his college education as a standout baseball player for Livingston University from 1978 - 1983 where he was selected to the All-Gulf-South Conference Team for the ‘82 and ‘83 seasons.
It was during his time at Livingston that Duane would meet his college sweetheart who would later become his wife, Susie Bizilia (McFarland). After college, Duane – along with Susie would return to Port St. Joe where he’d become a part of the coaching staff, and Susie, part of the administrative staff.
During his decades of service to Port St. Joe High School and Gulf District Schools, Duane (Coach Mac) would wear many hats. While Principal, the 2009 and 2014 football teams would win state championships, while many other varsity teams competed and came close during his watch.
Today, Duane and Susie are both still with the Gulf County School District, and very much active with Shark Athletics. Their son, Kenny McFarland, is on the sidelines tonight as an Assistant Shark Coach, and daughter – Anna, is a teacher and cheerleading sponsor.
While serving as principal of Port St. Joe High School, Duane would tell you that his personal “mission” as principal at Port St. Joe High School was to “provide the leadership, passion, and work ethic necessary to unify the faculty, students, and stakeholders to be the very best they could be, to build a sense of community and pride that puts students first, and to emphasize a Laser-like focus on high academic achievement and a strong belief that athletics and extra-curricular activities play an important role in the lives of our students. And to quote Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
David Musselwhite – A celebrated past
As Shark Players go – David Musselwhite was certainly among the best!
David would graduate from Port St. Joe High School in 1960, and further his career at Chipola Junior College, Mississippi State University, and eventually earn an advanced degree at Georgia State University.
To a historian doing research – and after perusing the historical data, one could quickly surmise how David Musselwhite would be included with the greatest of Shark athletic achievers. David would earn four letters in football and four in basketball. By his senior year, David would be chosen by his teammates as Captain of both the football and basketball teams.
Below are the simple facts for the Musselwhite years:
In Basketball: During his eighth-grade year, David played JV and dressed with the varsity team during tournaments, which included the Lakeland Tournament. In addition to his 4 letters, he was part of the District 2 Tournament Teams of ’59 and ’60 and named All-Northwest Florida Conference the same years. His senior year, he was named second team All-State, and was an alternate for the North team in the North/South basketball game. David could put on quite a show with his prowess on the court, and in 1960, he was credited with an astounding 28 rebounds in one game.
In Football: In addition to lettering all four years, during his 10th grade year he was part of the 1957 Northwest Florida Football Championship Team and received Honorable Mention All-Northwest Florida Team. He was repeatedly named Player of the Week throughout his high school career as well as All Northwest Conference, All Big Bend, and All State.
Today, David and his wife, Louise, have returned to make Port St. Joe their home.