Roger Orrell was a member of Seabreeze football's 1960 championship team and a member of 1968 Olympic team for the shot put.
Roger Ellis Orrell, a former star athlete at Seabreeze High School, died on Sunday, Feb. 24, at the age of 76. The funeral service was held on March 2, at Holly Hill Church of Christ.
Orrell was born on Dec. 6, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky. After living in California, he moved to Florida in 1959.
He tried to enroll at Seabreeze for his sophomore year, but the administration told him that he was supposed to enroll at rival Mainland High School. As he made his way out of the school’s main office, he was stopped by Sandcrabs football coach Fred Hogan.
Hogan took one look at Orrell and made a decision.
“My uncle was a big man,” said Lytha Murton, one of Orrell’s nieces. “[Hogan] said to him, ‘Son, turn around. You’re staying with us.’”
Orrell helped Seabreeze’s football team win a state championship in 1960.
He also started throwing discus and shot put as an upperclassmen. But instead of throwing a 12-pound shot like most high school shot putters, he started throwing a 16-pounder to train for a possible run at the Olympics.
After graduating from Seabreeze in 1961, Orrell, who stood at 6-foot-4 and was nearly 300 pounds, attended Abilene Christian College, in Texas, where he continued to play football and throw discus and shot put.
Orrell eventually achieved his dream, gaining a spot on 1968 Olympic team but was unable to participate due to a broken finger he sustained two weeks before the event.
He will also be remembered as a Daytona Beach life guard. Orrell served in the reserves and in active military from 1967-1973.
He is survived by his son, Andy; and his grandchildren, Morgan and Tyson. He is also survived by his sisters, Donna Hankes and Peggy Hayes.
“He was such a humble man. He would never talk about himself. But if you get people who were around him to talk, the stories are unbelievable,” Murton said. “And he loved his family and God more than life. His family brought pure joy to his life.”