Daytonans reflect on impact of former mayor
BY JAMES HARPER
Former Daytona Beach mayor and popular area football coach Baron Henry “Bud” Asher died at his home with family and loved ones around him on July 5. He was 88.
On July 10, a Mass of Christian burial took place at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church followed by an interment with military honors and a fly-over at Daytona Memorial Park.
Asher was well known in the city’s Black community especially as a coach for the school’s football team.
He also had a stint as an assistant coach for the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats under Jack “Cy” McClairen. Asher always remained close to the Bethune-Cookman football program.
Part of B-CU family
Bethune-Cookman University Athletic Director Lynn Thompson told the Daytona Times this week, “Bud Asher was more than a football coach. He was a man who coached life.
Thompson said that for more than 40 years, Asher was a part of the Bethune-Cookman family in a variety of roles, ranging from football coach, consultant, civil servant and advisor to many presidents.
“He was my friend, and a man who created educational opportunities for young athletes in all the communities he served. His life is a shining example of what community service is all about. Our prayers go out to his wife, Dawn, his son, Ron, and the entire Asher family,” added Thompson.
“His impact on young people, particularly in the African-American community of Volusia County can be measured only when you look at the youth leagues, high schools and college programs filled with youngsters he helped provide opportunities for. That list of names would certainly be a roster of championship proportions.”
More than mayor, coach
Daytona Beach Leisure Services Director Percy Williamson, who grew up in Daytona Beach, remarked that Asher was a person who excelled in many areas.
“He was an attorney, a judge, a hotel owner/businessman, a city commissioner, the mayor of Daytona Beach, but most importantly of all, he was a coach,” said Williamson.
The former mayor also was a coach for The Jacksonville Sharks, a World Football League team that featured several Wildcats on the roster, most notably Alfred Haywood, Edgar Scott and Alvin Wyatt.
Served in Navy
Asher was born May 27, 1925 to Baron Hirsch Asher and Erna Fromme Asher of Atlanta, Georgia.
A graduate of Tech High in Atlanta, Asher enlisted in the Navy in 1943, where he served in the Pacific as an airborne gunnery instructor and later combat tail gunner with Torpedo Squadron 8 aboard the aircraft carriers Bunker Hill and Bennington, earning 2 Air Medals and multiple unit citation and theater ribbons.
Following his honorable discharge from the Navy at the close of World War II, Asher attended the University of Tennessee and later earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia.
Asher left his law practice in 1954 to accept a position as an assistant football coach at Stetson University. During his illustrious coaching career, Asher provided guidance and mentorship to thousands of Volusia County youths at all levels ranging from midget league with the Daytona Beach Bulldogs, to local high schools Father Lopez, New Smyrna Beach, Spruce Creek and Mainland.
NFL talent scout
Asher’s 60 years in football included nearly 30 years as a college and NFL talent scout for the San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders, as well as the last two years as color commentator for local radio station WNDB 1150.
At the same time he was coaching football, Asher’s business interests in Daytona Beach began with the Nassau Villas motel and led to the building of the Safari Beach Motel, a mainstay of the beach side hotel industry for over 30 years.
Asher’s other business interests included owning various nightclubs, beach side motels, restaurants and nursing homes.
In addition to serving two years as a judge for the City of New Smyrna Beach, Asher’s civic leadership in Daytona Beach included 12 consecutive years as a city commissioner from District 2 followed by eight years as mayor.
After retiring as mayor, Asher continued his public service as a board member of the Friends of the Bandshell, the University Club, the Bud Asher Foundation and the city’s Race and Recreation Committee, where he led efforts to install the artificial turf (known informally as “Bud’s Rug”) at Mayor Kelly Stadium.
Asher is survived by his wife of 27 years, Dawn Ioviero Asher; his son, Baron “Ron” Asher; daughter Marybeth Asher-Lawson; grandchildren and other relatives.
Arrangements were under the care of Lohman Funeral Home Ormond. Condolences for the family may be shared at www.lohmanfuneralhomes.com.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to one of the following: Bud Asher Foundation, 4645 S Clyde Morris Blvd, Suite 401, Port Orange, FL 32129; Halifax Humane Society, 2364 LPGA Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32124; Halifax Health Hospice of Volusia/Flagler, 3800 Woodbriar Drive, Port Orange, FL 32129; or the Salvation Army, 1555 LPGA Blvd. Daytona Beach, FL 32129.