Remembering Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga

Former Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga meets Fan Site owners at a 2007 Web Weekend event - image by Brian Miller
Former Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga meets Fan Site owners at a 2007 Web Weekend event - image by Brian Miller /

The Miami Dolphins family is a bit smaller today as we have learned of the passing of former Miami Dolphins owner Wayne H. Huizenga.

Remembering Huizenga is easy. For most of us we remember his unwavering desire to bring a winning football team back to the Miami Dolphins. His attempts included Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, and Nick Saban.

He hit bumps in the road as he continually tried to make the Dolphins a Super Bowl champion. In the end is spending couldn’t get the team over the hump

We could highlight his career as a sports owner and we can talk about the misfires he hired and the stadium naming rights and so on and so on, but I want to talk about the man I met. My memory of him.

I will not pretend to say I knew him. I did not. I know people who did and considered him a friend. Their stories and memories are theirs to share on their own. As small as my memories are they paint the former Dolphins owner as a man who was unselfish and loved the fans.

My first encounter with him was at a Web Weekend that the Dolphins were hosting. We were in the team meeting room when Mr. Huizenga and then CEO Bryan Wiedmeier walked in and sat down to see what this “web-weekend” thing was all about.

Wiedmeier loved the fact that Scott Stone had started this event that bridged gaps between the team and the fans who covered the team on individually owned websites. Wiedmeier was showing off the event to the team’s owner.

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It was the first time I had seen him in person. I left my seat and walked to the back of the room to greet Wiedmeier and shake the owners hand. So did just about everyone else. He was gracious with his time and took pictures with the fan site owners. A smile never leaving his face. He thanked us for what we were doing for the team and left.

He was much shorter than I would have imagined.

The following day our group of web-heads were standing behind a rope on the field level when he walked towards the sideline. He noticed a few of us from the night before and turned towards us. As he got closer and we clapped he bowed with his hands out as if to say, “I’m not worthy”.

Again the smile never left his face as he walked the line of us and thanked us again. He asked if we had a good time the night before. It was a genuine question and he listened to the responses.

A couple of years later Huizenga was now a minority owner of the team. We were back for another  WW event. Lined up outside of the stadium getting ready to head out to the field, Huizenga pulled up on a golf cart heading out to the field as well. He saw a few of us, waved and asked the driver to stop.

“Great to see you all again,” he said smiling. “Having a good weekend?”.  Of course we were. He shook our hands again and thanked us and then shot off to the field.

Three instances in one man’s life of 80 years. I can’t imagine the impact he had on those he was friends with, or the families, children, and others whom he touched through his charities.

Thank you Mr. Huizenga. Thank you for letting us all be a part of the Miami Dolphins in our own little way. Rest in peace.