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Nine to be inducted into Lee County Athletic Conference Hall of Fame

By Staff | May 6, 2020

Plaques of Lee County Athletic Conference?Hall of Fame members. LEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT PHOTO

While their night of recognition has been cancelled due to coronavirus, members of the 2020 Lee County Athletic Conference Hall of Fame will be honored during next year’s ceremony with the 2021 class.

The Class of 2020 was set to be enshrined last week and the members were notified of the cancellation of the event.

“We will bring them to next year’s banquet to honor and recognize them along with the Class of 2021,” said Lee County Schools Director of Athletics and Activities Dave LaRosa.

A total of nine inductees, including five athletes and four “contributors” are part of this year’s class.

They include: former NFL fullback and North Fort Myers High School alum, Tommy Bohanon; current Atlanta Falcon backup quarterback and Island Coast High School grad, Kurt Benkert; former women’s pro golfer and North Fort Myers graduate, Lynda Brown Case; South Fort Myers 3-sport athlete, Brodrick Jenkins; state champion track star and Estero grad, Kacy Smith; long-time Athletic Administrative Assistant at Mariner High School, Cyndi Capel; North Fort Myers former wrestling coach and National Wrestling Hall of Famer, Frank Drake; 29-year coach throughout Lee County, Stephanie Martin; and 38-year Lee County basketball coach, Andre McGill Sr.

While these circumstances do not allow for the community to gather and honor these men and women who have made an impact on the youth of Lee County through athletics, their achievements will certainly not go unnoticed.

Capel, who has been with Lee Schools since 1990, will be retiring in the coming months.

“It’s a huge honor,” she said of her induction. “I’m excited that when I retire, I will always be part of LCAC.”

From 1990-97, she spent time at various schools around the district before reaching her goal of wanting to be an Athletic Administrative Assistant, first at Cypress Lake High School.

“That’s really what I wanted to do. I wanted to work in a high school, in the athletic office,” Capel said.

Sports and athletics has always been a big part of Capel’s life. She was a cheerleader in high school and said her family has always been involved in sports — whether that meant a sibling or family member was involved in athletics or followed sports closely.

The top priority in her position is to ensure student-athletes are eligible to participate. Eligibility is dependent on classroom performance, athletic paperwork and other guidelines set out by the Florida High School Athletic Association.

She also works alongside athletic directors and coaches.

Capel speaks fondly of those she has worked with across her tenure.

“I’ve worked with four amazing athletic directors,” she said. “I was very blessed because they were all great and made me feel like part of the team. That, I think is why I’ve loved my job for nearly 23 years.”

Capel, a Cape Coral resident and a long-time Southwest Florida inhabitant, said she will miss being able to see students grow and mature on and off of the athletic arena and will always cherish her time in the Lee School system, especially at Mariner.

“There’s a lot of tradition here at Mariner, and I feel like I’m a part of that,” Capel said. “I love Mariner. I’m really going to miss the students and the teachers and the coaches. It’s going to be interesting not to come back in July.”

Highlights of her career include the recent trip to the state finals by the boys soccer team, Triton wrestlers being sent to state final meets annually, getting the chance to work at the school while family members were attending and working along side her sister in-law, a teacher at Mariner.

Capel and her niece actually both started at Mariner in 2002, Capel as the new athletic administrative assistant and her niece a freshman.

“Just watching the kids, not just my family, come in as freshman and fill out as seniors — just how they’ve matured and watching them grow and succeed — I love it,” she said.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj