Prep football: Naples, Lely announce Coconut Bowl Trophy renamed Joe Klimas Trophy

Roger LaLonde Staff 
 Joe Klimas looks over memorabilia he collected over his 39 years as a TV and radio broadcaster.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE // Buy this photo

Roger LaLonde Staff Joe Klimas looks over memorabilia he collected over his 39 years as a TV and radio broadcaster.

Naples and Lely high schools announced Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, that the Coconut Bowl Trophy, which goes to the winner of the annual Coconut Bowl between the two schools' football teams, will be renamed the Joe Klimas Trophy in a ceremony prior to the 39th meeting between the schools on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.

Courtesy photo

Naples and Lely high schools announced Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, that the Coconut Bowl Trophy, which goes to the winner of the annual Coconut Bowl between the two schools' football teams, will be renamed the Joe Klimas Trophy in a ceremony prior to the 39th meeting between the schools on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.

— The longest continuous football rivalry in Collier County and the third longest continuous high school football rivalry in the State of Florida began on Thanksgiving Day in 1974.

In 1974, Naples High School was split into two schools: Naples High School and a new high school in east Naples called Lely High School. The “Coconut Bowl” football game was the brainchild of the two high school principals at the time, Clyde Quinby of Lely and Dave Jacobs of Naples. The thinking was that a football rivalry between the two schools would create excitement and increase school spirit -- something that certainly has happened over these past 39 years. And the winner of the football game would lay claim to “The Coconut Bowl Trophy,” keep it for an entire school-year until the next game, when once again, “The Nut,” as it now has come to be called, would be presented to the winner.

This Friday evening the two current high school principals – Lely’s Leslie Riccardelli and Naples’ Nancy Graham -- will make some more Coconut Bowl history, while at the same time providing recognition and a lasting legacy to one of the area’s great sports personalities.

This Friday, November 2, 2012, in an on-field ceremony prior to the 39th annual Coconut Bowl football game, “The Coconut Bowl Trophy” will be officially renamed “The Joe Klimas Trophy.”

Klimas died at the age of 74 on Aug. 13 after a long battle with lung cancer. The broadcasting icon's reach spread across Collier County sports and into its communities through high school football games -- both on TV and the radio -- to golf tournaments such as the Franklin Templeton Shootout and ACE Group Classic, where he was a tee announcer, and beyond. He also did work at the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track and the Great Dock Canoe Race, among many other community contributions.

Klimas had announced earlier in the year that the Naples-Lely game would be his final -- and only -- broadcast of the 2012 football season due to declining eyesight.

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