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Wiregrass Institute

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On behalf of Dothan City Schools, Henry County Schools, and Houston County Schools, we are excited to announce Wiregrass Institute 2024 featuring legendary boxing icon and Olympic Gold Medalist, Sugar Ray Leonard. We are excited to hear from him as he shares his story and his motivation for success. Wiregrass Institute will kick off on August 1, 2024, at the Dothan Civic Center. The program begins at 9 AM and doors will open at 8 AM with a special pre-show.

This year, we will have a special guest DJ in the house to help us bring in the celebration of a new school year! Additionally, this year we will host a School Spirit Competition that will give one school from each district the opportunity to win an AMAZING prize for their school!  After our speaker concludes, we will have opportunities for prizes to be won during our Wiregrass Institute Game Show!

So wear your dancing shoes, get your school spirit going, and prepare for a KNOCK-OUT of a year at Wiregrass Institute!




Picture of Sugar Ray Leonard

Sugar Ray Leonard


Legendary Boxing Icon with Championship Titles in five weight divisions, Olympic Gold Medalist, Hall of Famer, Bestselling Author, Television Personality, Ringside Analyst, Philanthropist, and Founder of the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation.

  • Legendary sports icon, Olympic champion and Hall of Famer, philanthropist, bestselling author, television personality, ringside analyst, and longtime face of Skechers’ popular Relaxed Fit collections, Sugar Ray Leonard has established a legacy that epitomizes boxing and invokes the reverence of a champion. Leonard’s illustrious career outside of the ring merits admiration, as a vanguard in the cultural movement that has brought the sport of boxing front and center today; Leonard also helms the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation which celebrated its 13th anniversary this past May, committed to funding life-changing research for pediatric type 1 & type 2 diabetes, and helping children build early healthy habits.  

    Having learned to box at 14, Leonard’s celebrated career includes three National Golden Gloves titles, two Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championships, and the 1975 Pan-American Games crown.  After winning a gold medal in boxing at the 1976 Olympic games, he turned professional as a last-ditch effort to help his family defer mounting medical bills incurred from his father’s illness.  Blinding speed, tremendous power, and palpable charm quickly made Leonard a media favorite, dubbed early on by the late Howard Cosell as the “new Muhammed Ali.” 

    At the age of 20 (1977), Leonard won his first professional fight, only setting the stage for a collection of the most memorable fights in all of boxing history.  He defeated some of the greatest boxers of the modern era, from Wilfred Benetiz to Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, from whom Leonard won the world middleweight title.  During his 20-year professional career, Leonard also won world titles in the welterweight, junior middleweight, super middleweight, and light heavyweight divisions— the first boxer to win world titles in five different weight classes.

    In 2011, Leonard published his first autobiography (Viking Books) THE BIG FIGHT: My Life In and Out of the Ring. In the inspiring autobiography, the boxing legend vulnerably confronts his greatest competitor: himself. Sugar Ray Leonard’s raw and uplifting memoir reveals in intimate detail for the first time the complex human who waged his battle with depression, rage, addiction, and greed, that lay behind the champion.  

    Leonard’s charismatic personality and expert ring knowledge led to a successful career as a television broadcaster for NBC, ABC, FOX, HBO, and ESPN, also featured as the international commentator for the record-breaking Mayweather vs. McGregor fight. Other television credits include three consecutive seasons as host and mentor in the Emmy-nominated “The Contender,” and a fan-favorite contestant on ABC’s still reigning competition series, “Dancing with the Stars.” Previously, Leonard also joined the DAZN broadcast team, the live and on-demand sports streaming platform, providing ringside analysis for Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Boxing. 

    On the silver screen, Leonard appeared in the critically acclaimed Paramount Pictures film The Fighter, also expertly consulting for DreamWorks and Walt Disney Pictures’ on Hugh Jackman’s Real Steel. 

    Perhaps most importantly, some of Leonard’s most impactful work is yet to be done. With a deep calling towards and passion for humanity, Leonard has always been devoted to his community and helping those in need. In establishing The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation in 2009, Leonard and his wife, Bernadette took changing the world into their own capable hands. Since its inception 14 years ago, the foundation has funded countless research projects and offered life-changing patient care for children with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the foundation is also committed to helping children lead healthier lives through diet and exercise, equipping them with the tools to be successful in health later on. Leonard raises money for Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and other children's charities through his annual "Big Fighters, Big Cause" Charity Boxing Night.  He sits on the Board of Trustees of CHLA and remains active in The Los Angeles philanthropic community. 



Map legend of parking around Dothan Civic Center showing available and no parking areas.