Tampa Bay, Fla. – August 2012 – Florida businessman, athlete and philanthropist, Earnest Graham, has been selected, along with 35 other former students, athletes and contributors, to be a part of the first class to be inducted into the new Lee County Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.
Graham is honored to be joining this prestigious inaugural class with other acclaimed athletes including Super Bowl champion Greg Spires, State golf champion, Catherine Cartwright-Tumbleson and State champion swimmer Robyn Anglickis. The induction banquet will take place on Saturday, August 18 in downtown Fort Myers.
Graham, a Fort Myers, FL native, has always been known for being a versatile athlete. Before beginning his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004, Graham lettered in high school football, baseball and basketball, excelling in football as a running back setting county and state records. In 1997 Graham was named Florida’s “Mr. Football” and a Parade magazine high school All-American. And later in 2007, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) recognized Graham as one of the “100 Greatest Players of the First 100 Years” of Florida high school football.
Dubbed by former Buccaneer coach Jon Gruden as “Mr. August”, Graham led the Bucs in rushing yards during the 2004, 2005 and 2006 preseasons. In 2007, Graham began the season playing predominantly on special teams until running back injuries of the current players led to Graham’s stepping in as a replacement. He scored the first two touchdowns of his career that year in a 24-3 win against the St. Louis Rams.
In addition to being a prominent Florida businessman who will soon be opening an insurance agency in downtown Fort Myers, and an accomplished athlete, Graham is also devoted to philanthropy and has established Giving In Earnest. Based in Ft. Myers, the foundation’s program helps with issues that face elementary and middle school female students of Fort Myers’ inner-city public schools through academic support, mentoring, guidance counseling, character development, nutrition and social interaction activities. Students will play on an organized softball team taught by leaders in the community and professional athletes. Mr. Graham says “Our sports programs are structured to prepare our children for adulthood by giving them a chance to develop coping skills and the self-confidence to succeed in the adult world in a safe and nurturing environment.”