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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 200 8 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. T his oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.
1 USF Florida Studies Center Oral History Program USF 50 th History Anniversary Project Narrator: Andy Honker Interviewer: Andrew Huse Current Position: Retired, Formerly Location of Interview: Tampa Head of Campus Recreation Campus L ibrary Date of Interview: February 10, 2005 Abstractor: Jared G. Toney Final Editor: Jared G. Toney Date of Abstract: March 1, 2005 Date of Edit: March 1, 2005 TOPICS OF DISCUSSION Mr. Honker came to USF in 1969 as a resident instructor. Back ground Mr. Honker earned a bachelor's degree in recreation at Penn State University, then completed his master's in the same field at the University of Illinois. Following graduation, he spent three years in the public recreation and parks fields in New Yo rk and Virginia. Resident instructor at USF Mr. Honker came to USF through Ray King, who was then serving as the director of housing. In addition to supervising two residence halls, Zeta and Eta, his position required working with the recreation and intr amural programs. He lived on campus for nearly two years during this period. Physical education courses While serving as resident instructor, Mr. Honker also taught courses in physical education and continued to work with intramurals and recreation. "For me it was ... a combination of teaching and practical education ... and that was attractive. That was ... probably the main reason I came." Interaction with students; student involvement As resident instructor, Mr. Honker recalls a time of student activi sm and protests against the Vietnam War. On one occasion, he remembers that materials inside a dumpster were set on fire near one of the residence halls. "Nothing too radical that I remember." "People would set fire alarms off in non emergencies, and the r esidence halls would empty and that was always fun, too." His sons, two and fours years old at the time, used to ride their tricycles around campus, and many of the students came to recognize and know them by name. "It was fun." At the time, there was "qui te a heavy participation" of campus residents in intramural athletic programs.
2 Impressions of campus and programs "The campus was fairly new ... lot of sandy areas ... an attractive place starting to grow ... Kind of an attractive location ... because of the opportunities to sort of create programs, [and] create traditions." Riverfront Park At the time of his arrival, Mr. Honker recalls that Riverfront Park was "fairly primitive" and prone to flooding. "A lot of the facilities that are there now were not there. When we had canoes for rent, we took them down there on a trailer ... There were picnic tables, but there was no picnic pavilion." When the construction of a bypass canal in later years, flooding was controlled and they were able to make significant improvements to the park. "The major improvements came when they widened Fletcher Avenue ... The County Parks Department along with the university did most of the improvements there," including pavilions, restrooms, and a boathouse. Mr. Honker believes th is occurred sometime in the late 1970s. River Riot River Riot was organized at that time largely through student organizations and the University Center, as he remembers. "It was kind of a Woodstock kind of event. It was sort of a carry over from the six ties in a way." Beginning in the early seventies, Mr. Honker does not believe that the River Riot lasted for too many years. "They had bands and a lot of people. The major problem was that the park really couldn't accommodate the parking ... Most of the pe ople had to park up along Fletcher," which was only two lanes at the time. "The park didn't really have the facilities at that time certainly for that scale of event." Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics In 1971, Mr. Honker left his resident ins tructor position and made the transfer to Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics, where he worked under Dick Bowers. He became an assistant professor in 1971 with a full time position in the department. "That staff in the recreation side was pretty small ... At that time, actually, everyone that was working in either recreation or athletics was teaching. All the original coaches were teaching part time." In 1972 Honker essentially became the director of the recreation program at USF. As the programs grew, athletics and recreation became separate entities unto themselves, while physical education formally joined the College of Education. Student drug use Mr. Honker remembers little about recreational drug use among students at that time. "I never h ad any direct experience with cases of [drug use] in the two years I was in the residence halls." Staff involvement in intramural sports In certain intramural sports, Mr. Honker recalls that there were "Some faculty and staff teams and there still are." In particular, the faculty and staff participated in such sports as touch football, basketball, and softball. "Participation in terms of the number of
3 students on campus and enrolled at that time was pretty high ... Facilities were very good for that time particularly outdoor facilities." Competition for space and facilities Mr. Honker believes that the gymnasium opened before he came to USF, sometime around 1966 or 1967. Prior to that, physical education classes were taught primarily outdoors. When the USF men's basketball team began in earnest, the physical education and recreation programs had to compete for limited space and facilities. "At the time ... we had athletic teams using the gym and intramural teams using the gym and classes using the gym, the scheduling was very tight ... A lot of the intramural activities at that point were outside." Decision to remain at USF The people in the physical recreation and education programs, Mr. Honkers recalls, "were very good to work with right from the sta rt." The opportunities for growth were appealing, and "of course the climate was hard to beat." As a result, he decided it was "a good time just to stay around" and raise a family. Increasing demands from university and community As head of recreation, he recalls that, "The biggest challenges were trying to accommodate the demand with the available space. The scheduling was an issue. We also started getting increased demand for community events." For example USF hosted the statewide Special Olympics for "q uite a number of years," in addition to other community based activities. Reliance on student employees Because the program had only three full time professional positions at the time, they relied upon university students serving as supervisors and lifeg uards, among other facilities positions. "There were twenty three or twenty four full time people, and about two hundred student employees in campus recreation." Facility growth was also one of the greatest challenges, as the department worked to meet incr easing demands from the university as well as the community. "Student employees did, and still do, very responsible work ... We probably had students doing things that full time people were doing at other universities." "One of the most rewarding things ov er the time has been to see those student workers and know how much they gained from working in those positions. And then having them come back years later. We've had a lot of them out in the field actually." Physical growth As the respective athletic pro grams grew, it became increasingly difficult to share limited spaces, facilities, and resources on campus. While the construction of the Sun Dome in the late seventies and early eighties helped to alleviate some of those concerns, it became a venue for con certs and other additional events. "As they got busier ... it became very hard to use those [facilities]." There was also pressure for fitness, conditioning, and weight training facilities as well. "It became a challenge to get funding to do that." In the late eighties and early nineties, an auxiliary gym was constructed at the Sun Dome, and
4 the Recreation Center was expanded to meet increased demands. Despite such growth, Honker comments, "There's still a need for more." Shifting emphases One of the major changes in athletics and recreation over the years has been a shift in focus from team or group activities to individual initiatives, which accommodate various schedules and demands. Aware of this trend, Mr. Honker asked in the late seventies that the pro gram name be changed from recreational sports to campus recreation. "A large amount of what's being done is not sports' in the traditional sense," but more individually focused activity and recreation. "And I think that's been very common" nationally. In the nineties, Mr. Honker was pressed more and more by administrative duties at the university. As part of the growth and delineation of separate departments, the responsibilities for maintenance and facilities management fell under those respective progra ms. A new building was constructed in 1995, allowing for further growth and development. Current agenda Currently, Honker explains that Campus Recreation is still looking at expansion needs, and hopes to gain more space and additional facilities in the co ming years. Riverfront Park continues to undergo changes and revisions. "It's hard to know exactly what expectations are going to be and what students are going to want ... The more resident students there are ... the more demand there will be ... That'll always be a challenge, trying to keep up." Memories One of the most difficult projects in Honker's tenure at USF was securing funding for the construction of the new recreation center in the mid nineties. "That was kind of a tough time there." On the othe r hand, one of his fondest memories is the completion and opening of that facility in 1995. End of Interview
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Honker, H. Andrew.
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Andrew Huse.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (63 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 expanded summary (digital, PDF file)
USF 50th (2006) anniversary oral history project
Interview conducted February 10, 2005.
Andy Honker came to USF as a resident instructor in 1969. Eventually, he worked his way up to Head of Campus Recreation. Now retired, Mr. Honker talks about campus life in the 1970s and the growth of Campus Recreation since he started here.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Honker, H. Andrew.
University of South Florida.
University of South Florida.
College of Education.
Huse, Andrew T.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DIGITAL AUDIO AND EXPANDED SUMMARY