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The 'Voice of Polo'

Tom Oxley, 65, owner of the old Royal Palm Polo Club in Boca Raton, Fla., and benefactor to Florida Atlantic University, where his multi-million dollar donations helped start the football program there, died Dec. 17 in Highland Beach, Fla., the Sun Sentinel reported. The Miami Herald reported Mr. Oxley was diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer in October.
When Mr. Oxley was 24, he was thrown from his polo pony during a match and went into a coma for a month. After he awakened he never played the sport competitively again. He did, however, announce the matches at his polo club.
"In the polo world, he was the 'Voice of Polo,' "the executive director of the U.S. Polo Association, Peter Rizzo, told the Sun Sentinel. "He was known around the world."
Mr. Oxley was a member of FAU's first incoming class in 1964. He graduated in 1966, and later gave his alma mater $4 million to help fund the Tom Oxley Athletic Center and the two practice fields behind it. The center opened in 2001, just in time to coincide with the first season of FAU's football team, the owls.
"We lost one of the true sons of FAU," football coach Howard Schnellenberger told the Sun Sentinel. "Tom Oxley became the most enthusiastic and important alumnus benefactor from the beginning. Without Tom we would certainly not be playing football today or moving ahead with an on-campus stadium."

By T. Rees Shapiro  |  December 18, 2009; 10:10 AM ET
 | Tags: Athletes, Polo  
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