FHSAA Hall of Famer R.L. Landers Passes Away

R. L. Landers passed away on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at home following a brief illness. He is predeceased by his wife of 70 years, Helen Herriott Landers; and is survived by his two children, Robert (Candy) and James; grandson, Robert (Monica), and two great-grandchildren (Robert and Elizabeth). 

R. L. was born in Bedias, Texas (Grimes Country) on August 29, 1922, growing up on his family’s farm during the Great Depression.   He excelled in the athletic program at Bedias High School, lettering four years in football and basketball. Shortly after his high school graduation, R. L. enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and served four years during World War II, during which time he met his future wife, Helen.

At the end of the war, R. L. returned to Texas and enrolled in Baylor University where he played basketball and baseball. He also played semi-pro baseball and volleyball, and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. R. L. earned his Master's degree from Baylor in 1958 and his Doctorate from Nova University in 1976.

R. L. and Helen moved their family to Florida in 1954. For nine years he was business manager and a teacher of Business Education at Fern Hall Private School. In 1963, he joined the Physical Education staff at Broward Community College where he remained until his retirement in 1990. For 10 years, R. L. was HPRD Division Chairman and, at various times, served as athletic director and coached basketball, baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s golf.

R. L. first registered as an FHSAA basketball official in 1954, and as an FHSAA football official in 1955. He was also a registered official in baseball, softball and volleyball, and remained active in all those sports into his 60’s.  R. L. started the first football and basketball officials’ associations in Broward County and is a charter and life member of both. He also is co-founder of the Broward softball and volleyball officials’ associations, and served as commissioner of the football and softball officials associations. R. L. was the Florida ASA and Southern Region Junior Olympic Softball commissioner, and served on the ASA Softball Rules and Junior Olympic committees.

For over 20 years, R. L. was a member of the Fort Lauderdale Parks and Recreation Board. He was inducted into the Broward Community College Hall of Fame and the Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame.  He was honored with the Brian Piccolo Award, Jim Cisco Award, Ft Lauderdale Service Award, Florida Coaches Distinguished Service Award and the St. Thomas Award for his outstanding contributions to Broward County sports.  In 1985, he was honored with the naming of the R.L. Landers Softball Field at Croissant Park. And, the “R. L. Landers Sportsmanship Trophy” was named in his honor, and is given each year by the Broward Football Officials to the high school that exemplifies the best sportsmanship during the school year.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to First United Methodist Church, Ft. Lauderdale.