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Broner honored by state Legislature

Pasco boys basketball coach Willie Broner caps a period of honors with a Tallahassee trip at Rep. Mike Fasano's invitation.

By JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2000


So there was Willie Broner, sitting in the west gallery of the state house in Tallahassee on Wednesday morning.

There was Rep. Mike Fasano, R.-New Port Richey, on the floor of the house, saluting Broner.

There was the entire Florida House of Representatives, giving Broner a standing ovation.

There was Broner, standing and waving back.

And Broner's reaction to all this was ...

"It was nice," Pasco's boys basketball coach said. "It was really nice."

So ended Broner's trip to Tallahassee, at Fasano's invitation, to honor the longtime coach for dedicating his life to coaching and teaching, for his work in the community and most importantly for winning his 300th career game this year.

"It felt good," Broner said. "We just sat up there and watched all the big people making all those decisions. Everyone's in a rush, trying to find out who's voting for this and who's not voting for that.

"It was exciting, and it's a great honor."

Broner, Pasco's athletic director, has been feted all year long. First by the Dade City Commission, then the Pasco County School Board and then his own school, which passed out T-shirts to staff members honoring his 300th win and presented him with a plaque at a ceremony.

Fasano had invited Broner and his family to spend the day in Tallahassee, and have lunch with him. But Broner had to respectfully decline, because wife Annie Doris Davis had to return to Dade City on Wednesday afternoon to complete some business.

So the two set out for Tallahassee Tuesday evening, spent the night at the residence of an uncle of Broner's and were at the Capitol at 9 a.m.

Broner and Fasano met outside chambers afterward, and Broner told the state representative there were a few things he wanted to discuss with him. Broner asked if he could make an appointment to come see Fasano in his New Port Richey office.

Fasano said he would rather come see Broner in Dade City.

Which is fine with Broner, because he's got something on his mind.

"The county has (recreation centers) in Hudson and Land O'Lakes," Broner said, "but not one on this side of the county. I think it's time that we got our own park, and I wanted to ask Mr. Fasano how we would go about doing that."

Broner said that while Dade City and Land O'Lakes have county parks, the kind of recreational complex that other Pasco County locales have, complete with indoor gyms, tennis courts and swimming pools, could be put to good use on the east side of the county.

"Dade City needs a pool badder than anything," Broner said. "Most of the kids around here haven't even learned how to swim yet."

Broner is always involved in youth sports in the area, and has put together a few youth basketball leagues of his own over the years at the Pasco gym.

"We could really use a rec center like that out here," Broner said. "It would give the kids something to do, and it would help keep them out of trouble, I believe."

Broner said after watching the legislature in action, he won't be giving up his day job any time soon.

"That's one job I don't want," he said, laughing.

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