Akita Heatly was a winner each individual time she stepped on the hardwood.
The previous Florida A&M women’s basketball guard enjoyed a adorned career at Boca Ciega Higher College and with the Rattlers.
Heatly is currently being rewarded for her championship-successful basketball occupation as 1 of 16 inductees in the 2022 FAMU Athletics Hall of Fame class on Sept. 9.
“I broke down when I acquired the connect with,” Heatly claimed.
“I have not even taken it all in yet but I have been waiting on it. I am so thrilled for my household and close friends to arrive and see me get inducted.”
Heatly, 44, obtained her Bachelor’s Diploma in Physical Schooling/Recreation from FAMU in 2004 and is the Athletic Supervisor for the Town of Tallahassee’s Parks and Recreation department.
She’s married to Shalonda Williams.
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A Star is Born
Heatly was born in St. Petersburg and attended Boca Ciega High University in neighboring Gulfport.
She was the figurehead in helping the girls’ basketball to prominence in the mid-1990’s under mentor Harry Elifson, who’s now is an assistant coach at USF.
Heatly was a two-time Florida Superior University Coaches Affiliation Course 5A Participant of the Year along with capturing two state championships in 1995 and 1996.
She could rating and dish the ball, averaging 13.2 factors per video game and 8.9 assists. Heatly also put next in the 1996 Florida Dairy Farmers Pass up Basketball ballot at the rear of a number of-time winner Latoyna Washington of Paxton High Faculty.
“People were being the best years of my life,” Heatly said. “Our crew was profitable and been jointly because we were freshmen.
“We ultimately bought in excess of the hump in our junior calendar year to acquire our to start with title and went again once again. It was not just me, I had a actually excellent workforce.”
Likely to Gainesville
A hot recruit coming out of superior school, Heatly fully commited and signed with the College of Florida.
Though on the roster, she by no means played a activity for the Gators.
Heatly took a year off from basketball after her freshman 12 months to plan her subsequent chapter.
“I just had a quick cease there,” she explained. “It just failed to really feel right and didn’t fit me the way that I however it would.
“I still left and finished up sitting down out a total 12 months and then transferred to FAMU due to the fact back then you could not transfer to one more SEC college with out sitting down out for two a long time and I failed to want to do that.”
Heatly transferred to FAMU in 1998 immediately after FAMU Corridor of Famer Head women’s basketball coach Claudette Farmer and Beverly Burnett recruited her.
Acquiring good friends previously enrolled at the university produced Heatly’s determination straightforward.
“My friends that have been at the faculty informed me that they’d like to have me,” she explained. “Mentor Farmer and Burnett told me that I could acquire them to an additional amount and I explained ‘Sign me up, I’m on my way.’
“It felt like going to a family members reunion. I’ve under no circumstances been to a university with just all black young children. That was a little something new for me. All the coaching personnel and the team in standard built me come to feel at home. Furthermore Tallahassee is a pretty inviting place.
“That was the environment of the school jointly. I was genuinely satisfied about my choice to arrive and perform for FAMU.”
A Guarantee Saved
Heatly did what everybody envisioned from her, aiding get the Rattlers to new heights. She averaged 10.9 details, 5.9 rebounds, 5.7 helps, and 2.6 steals.
In 1999, she assisted the team win its next MEAC Championship, defeating Hampton 69-47.
The Rattlers advanced into the NCAA Women’s Basketball Countrywide Match for the second time in historical past (1995 was 1st overall look). The 15th-seed Rattlers fell to Clemson 76-45 in the opening spherical.
“We have been one particular of individuals group that just came with each other,” Heatly stated. “They’re continue to my lifelong mates to this working day.
“It was a thing that I couldn’t even visualize. Since I experienced won at every single level, I wanted to force them to win the MEAC and go to the NCAA match — and we did it. We went versus Clemson and should’ve won that video game. I acquired a genuinely undesirable concussion. If I could do it all above once again, I would do it the same way.”
Eternally Enshrined on The Hill
Heatly will be officially inducted into the FAMU Sports Corridor of Fame with 15 other folks in the 2022 course Sept. 9. They will also be honored through the FAMU-Albany Point out soccer recreation that working day.
She will join Farmer, who was enshrined in 1991.
“All Mentor Farmer wanted to do was get,” Heatly explained. “She always encouraged us and pushed us to be the ideal that we can be.
“She was a actual function design for us when we came to faculty — a mother figure that you constantly require absent from house.”
Heatly got the call from MEAC Corridor of Famer Alvin Hollis that she was chosen in the 2022 course.
She will devote her Hall of Fame ceremony to her late father, Al who passed away in March.
“I’m unfortunate simply because my father just handed away so he is not going to be there to see me go in,” Heatly mentioned. “He would’ve been so happy.
“It is really so surreal. I under no circumstances believed that I would get in — it under no circumstances crossed my head. But I was a winner at each and every level and served flip the software close to.”
Gerald Thomas III handles FAMU athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Get in touch with him through e mail at [email protected] or on Twitter @3peatgee.
This short article initially appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: FAMU WBB: Heatly enterring 2022 Corridor of Fame for adorned profession