American Football Database
Miami Dolphins
Wayne Huizenga
(1939-12-29) December 29, 1939 (age 82) in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Alma Mater:
attended Calvin College (dropped out)
Career Information
Blockbuster Video, Waste Management, Inc., AutoNation, and Swisher Hygiene
former owner of NFL's Miami Dolphins,
the NHL's Florida Panthers, and MLB's Miami Marlins teams
Net Worth:
$ 2.3 Billion USD
Family and Personal
Joyce VanderWagen, 1960-1966, Marti Goldsby, 1972-present
Sons Wayne Jr. and Scott (from his first marriage)

Harry Wayne Huizenga (/hˈzɛŋɡə/; born December 29, 1939 in Evergreen Park, Illinois) is an American businessman. He grew Blockbuster Video, Waste Management, Inc., and AutoNation into successful companies. He is the former owner of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins, the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers and the Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins.


H. Wayne Huizenga is of Dutch descent.[1] His parents, Gerrit Harry and Jean Huizenga, were both products of the Chicago Dutch community. Wayne was born in Evergreen Park, a Chicago suburb, on December 29, 1939. He has one sister, Bonnie, who is five years younger. Huizenga grew up in Evergreen Park until he was about 15 when his family moved to Florida and settled in the Fort Lauderdale area.

He spent part of his high school years in the Chicago area, where he attended Timothy Christian School. His family then moved to Florida, the remainder of his high school years were spent at Pine Crest School. Huizenga is remembered by his Pine Crest teachers and classmates as a happy and popular student who played on the school's football team, was elected to senior class treasurer, and earned decent grades.[citation needed] After high school graduation he moved back to Chicago where most of his friends, grandparents and other relatives still lived. In 1956 he enrolled at Calvin College, a liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In September 1959, Huizenga enlisted in the Army reserve and spent six months in the service full time to complete his basic training.[citation needed] On September 10, 1960 he married Joyce VanderWagon, a woman with a Dutch background. He had known Joyce since his early school years in Evergreen Park, Illinois. Wayne and Joyce had two children, Wayne Jr. and Scott. The marriage ended in divorce in 1966. Huizenga married his second wife, Marti Goldsby, in April 1972.

Professional career

Starting with a single garbage truck in 1968, he grew Waste Management, Inc. into an entity that would become a Fortune 500 company. Huizenga aggressively purchased independent garbage hauling companies, and by the time he took the company public in 1972, he had completed the acquisition of 133 small-time haulers. By 1983, he grew Waste Management into the largest waste disposal company in the United States.

Huizenga repeated his business success with Blockbuster Video, opening a handful of stores in 1987, and becoming the country's leading movie rental chain by 1994. Eventually, he would also build and acquire auto dealerships, from which in 1996 he formed AutoNation, which has become the nation's largest automotive dealer and a Fortune 500 company, and remains his most recent major business venture. Huizenga has been a five-time recipient of Financial World magazine's "CEO of the Year" award, and was the Ernst & Young "2005 World Entrepreneur of the Year".

In late 2004, he sold his ownership share in a group of hotels that included The Hyatt Pier 66 Hotel and Radisson Bahia Mar Hotel & Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, The Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida, and several others in Naples, Florida and Arizona.

In 2004, he purchased the private luxury yacht Aussie Rules from the Australian boat builder and the golfer Greg Norman. The yacht cost $77 million and was further modified by Huizenga and now features a helipad for a twelve-seat helicopter. Aussie Rules was renamed Floridian after his private golf course designed by Gary Player.

In 2010, Huizenga reconnected with Steve Berrard, former CEO of Blockbuster Video and AutoNation, to take Swisher Hygiene public. Swisher Hygiene trades on the Nasdaq and the Toronto Stock Exchange. Swisher Hygiene was previously CoolBrands International inc.

Sports team ownership

Huizenga currently owns 5% of the Miami Dolphins, as well as 5% of Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. He held 50% of the team and stadium until January 2009 when he sold a 45% stake to Stephen M. Ross.

He purchased 15% of the team and their sports venue in 1990, during a period of financial hardship for the franchise. Long time owner Joe Robbie had recently died and his family found it difficult to keep the team afloat. In turn, Huizenga bought out the remaining shares of the team to become full owner in 1993. He then pulled the Joe Robbie name off the building and sold that space to a corporate sponsor who later went under (Pro Player). It has since been renamed Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, LandShark Stadium, and Sun Life Stadium. On February 22, 2008, he sold 50% of the Miami Dolphins and 50% of the then Dolphin Stadium to Stephen M. Ross, a New York City-based real estate developer and founder, chairman and CEO of The Related Companies.[2]

Huizenga is notable for introducing both baseball and hockey to the South Florida area as the initial owner of the Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers. He was criticized for naming his two teams for the state of Florida rather than the city of Miami, but as an advocate for the city of Fort Lauderdale, he explained that his goal was to include Broward County and Palm Beach County in his teams' fanbase. (Indeed, he claimed at the time that he had not even considered naming the teams after "Miami" as an option, and that in his view the only legitimate choices had been "Florida," "South Florida," and "Tri-County.")

Huizenga, in keeping with his previously stated intentions, sold the Marlins to current Boston Red Sox owner John Henry at the end of the 1998 season. Since then, however, relations between Huizenga and new Marlins management has been tepid, mainly because of stadium lease disagreements.

Huizenga operated the Panthers as a public holding company, buying numerous real estate properties in the name of his Panthers Holding Group. In 2001, he sold the Panthers to pharmaceutical juggernaut and friend Alan Cohen and his partner, former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, for a discount price. In all three team ownerships, he is very well known for minimizing costs while maximizing profits.[citation needed]

Huizenga, while attempting to build his sporting empire in South Florida, attempted to purchase the NBA's Miami Heat, but was unsuccessful.


Huizenga is a large donor to Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The business school there is named H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship in his honor. He has also donated to Pine Crest School, a private preparatory school, with their science building named the Huizenga Science Building after him. Huizenga was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2006. He is a board member of the Laureus Foundation, a charity that celebrates the universal power of sport to bring people together as a force for good and uses the passion that sport inspires to effect social change across the globe.

Huizenga received the prestigious Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Award in 1992 for his active role in funding scholarships throughout Florida. His donations also help the National Scholar scholarships presented annually by Horatio Alger, and the association named him the 2008 Norman Vincent Peale Award recipient, the highest honor bestowed upon any member.

In 2012, the City of Fort Lauderdale, FL renamed Southeast 9th Street in the Rio Vista neighborhood "Wayne Huizenga Blvd". [3]


External links

Horatio Alger Association official site, for information on the association through which Huizenga distributes financial aid to students.

Preceded by
Tim Robbie
Miami Dolphins President
Succeeded by
Eddie Jones
Preceded by
Estate of Joe Robbie
Miami Dolphins Principal Owner
Succeeded by
Stephen Ross

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Wayne Huizenga.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with American Football Database, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.