H. Wayne Huizenga, who passed away at 80, will be known locally largely for owning three of the four professional sports teams in South Florida. While his philanthropic efforts might not be as prominent, that’s what Dolphins president and vice chairman Tom Garfinkel remembers most.
“I had an opportunity to get to know him a little bit myself in a short period of time,” Garfinkel said today. “He was just a wonderful man and he lived an amazing life.”
Among other charitable endeavors, Huizenga funded the business school at Nova Southeastern University, which is where the Dolphins’ practice facility is in Davie.
Huizenga, who was the initial owner of the Panthers and Marlins, also owned the Dolphins for about 15 years before selling the team to Stephen Ross over the course of 2008 and ’09.
“You’ll see his name around the community in a lot of places—Nova Southeastern University and his impact there, his impact really throughout South Florida,” Garfinkel said. “The Dolphins were his first love, football was his first love. He was a season ticket holder long before he owned the team. And bringing hockey and baseball here to South Florida. He meant a lot, he meant a lot to a lot of people.
“He created a lot of jobs – thousands and thousands of jobs for people and did a lot of philanthropic work too to really help a lot of people. Those are probably, in my opinion, be his greatest legacies. But obviously his sports contributions were beyond significant as well.”
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