About The Gators
The Florida Gators is the team name used
for all of the intercollegiate athletic
teams that play for the University of Florida
in Gainesville, Florida. There are 8 men's
athletic teams and 11 women's teams that
compete in the Eastern Division of the Southeastern
Conference in Division I-A, and have combined
to win the Southeastern Conference All-Sports
Trophy every year since its inception. The
Gators have also been in the top 10 of the
National All Sports rankings every year
for the past two decades.
Traditional rivals in most sports include
in-state Florida State University and the
University of Miami, as well as conference
rivals Georgia and Tennessee.
The athletic department is run by the University
Athletic Association, a private organization.
The department dedicates about $73 million
per year to its sports teams and facilities.
Since 1992, the athletic director of the
Gators has been Jeremy Foley. All athletic
teams have on-campus facilities for competition,
including Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida
Field for football, the Stephen C.
Logo of the University
Athletic Association, Inc.
O'Connell Center for men’s and women’s
basketball as well as women's volleyball and gymnastics,
and McKethan Stadium for baseball.
Tailgating for the Gators is a major pastime and
is followed on websites that have drawn thousands
The football team is traditionally the most
popular sport at the university, where even
the spring practice Orange and Blue Game has
drawn crowds in excess of 50,000.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium,
University Of Florida
Florida plays an eight-game conference schedule,
headlined by annual SEC Eastern division showdowns
against Tennessee and Georgia, the latter being
held in Jacksonville, Florida every year and dubbed
"The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party."
The permanent SEC West team the Gators face every
season is LSU. In addition, the team has a yearly
out-of-conference meeting with Florida State at
the end of the season.
The football team has been one of the winningest
in Division 1-A since 1990, the year Steve Spurrier
returned to his alma mater as coach. The 1996
team, led by another Heisman winner, Danny Wuerffel,
went 12-1 and won the national championship game
in the Sugar Bowl, avenging an earlier loss to
rival Florida State.
Following the 2001 season, Spurrier left the
program to try his hand at coaching in the National
Football League. Ron Zook, at one time the defensive
coordinator under Spurrier, was hired as his replacement.
Zook's squads were known for their inconsistency,
and he was fired midway through the 2004 season.
Head Football Coach,
|Urban Meyer was announced as Florida Football's
new head coach in December 2004. His first
season in 2005 was a respectable 9-3, including
a bowl win against the Iowa Hawkeyes, but
the team missed out on a chance to play in
the SEC title game after a devastating loss
to Spurrier's new team, South Carolina, though
the team managed to sweep its three biggest
rivals (Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida State)
for just the fourth time in school history.
The Gators had arguably the best recruiting class
in the nation in 2006, signing such players as
All-American dual-threat quarterback Tim Tebow
and overall #1 HS recruit, wide receiver Percy
Harvin. Other five star recruits included offensive
lineman Carl Johnson, linebacker Brandon Spikes,
wide receiver Jarred Fayson, and safety Jamar
Florida had limited success prior to the mid-1990s.
However, under the tenure of Norm Sloan, Vernon
Maxwell led the team to the NCAA Tournament's
Sweet Sixteen in 1987, and Sloan coached the
team to the tournament again the following
two years. After a drug scandal involving
Maxwell, Sloan left and the program went on
Men's Basketball Coach,
University Of Florida
Don DeVoe coached the team for the 1989-90 season,
after which Lon Kruger was hired. While never
known as a great recruiter, Kruger slowly brought
the team to increased success and reached the
NIT final four in his second year as coach. In
1993-94, however, the pieces fell into place for
Florida. Behind Andrew DeClercq and Dametri Hill,
the Gators went to their first Final Four following
a dramatic victory over UConn where Donyell Marshall
missed two free throws with no time on the clock
to force overtime, where the Gators eventually
prevailed. They lost to Duke in the national semifinal,
70-65. The next year, they returned to the NCAA
tournament, but were eliminated in the first round.
Kruger's final season in 1995-96 resulted in a
losing record, and he left to coach at Illinois.
Jeremy Foley, looking for a young coach with
a proven track record, hired Billy Donovan, then
at Marshall, as Kruger's replacement. His recruiting
prowess was evident early, bringing future NBA
star Jason Williams with him from Marshall and
having early recruiting classes with future NBA
players Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, and Matt Bonner,
among others. The Gators have made the NCAA Tournament
every year since Donovan's third season with the
team, a seven-year streak that is easily the school
record. Although Donovan is young (40) compared
to many coaches, he is the longest tenured men's
basketball coach in the SEC.
Florida's women’s team has been coached
by Carolyn Peck, a former WNBA coach who won a
national title with Purdue, since the 2002-03
season. Her brother, Michael, has been an assistant
on the staff since 2001.
While traditionally being overshadowed by divisional
(and national) basketball powers Tennessee and
Georgia, the Lady Gators have made several NCAA
Tournament appearances and sent players to the
WNBA, such as Delisha Milton-Jones. The winningest
coach at Florida was Peck's predecessor, Carol
Ross, who guided the team for 12 seasons but now
coaches at her alma mater, Ole Miss.
With a senior-ladden team, the Lady Gators started
the 2005-06 season unranked and gradually worked
their way into the Top 25, finishing the season
at 21-9 overall and 8-6 in conference play. They
lost in the first round of the NCAA Division I
Women's Basketball Tournament to New Mexico.
Baseball is coached by Pat McMahon, who joined
in 2001 after coaching at Mississippi State.
The 2005 season was the best in school history,
as the team won the SEC title and made the College
World Series for the first time in seven years,
and advanced all the way to the championship round
against Texas, but ultimately lost two games to
none. The baseball team has made the Series five
times in total.
The expectations for the team were high for 2006;
they opened the season as the #1 team in the polls.
The team struggled through the 2006 season, however.
The Gators found themselves 1 game under .500
(26-27) heading into their final series, against
LSU in Gainesville. UF surprisingly took 2 of
3 to finish right at .500, 28-28. However, the
team's 10-20 SEC record was the second worst in
the conference (only Auburn's 9-21 campaign was
worse), and they didn't qualify for the SEC Tournament.
There was very slight hope that the team might
be selected for the NCAA Regionals, but in the
end their disappointing performance did not get
them a bid.
Becky Burleigh has been the coach since the team
first began play in 1996. The team quickly became
a contender and, in 1998, won the national title
in its third year of existence against the storied
North Carolina program. A player from that team,
Heather Mitts has enjoyed a career on and off
the field, including a spot on the United States
Women's National Soccer Team.
Another former player, Abby Wambach, has become
a recent star on the U.S. team and scored the
game-winning goal in the final game of the 2004
Florida began competing in Volleyball in 1984
under the lead of Marilyn McReavy but didn’t
achieve true success until Mary Wise took over
the program in 1991.
In her 15 years at Florida, Wise has compiled
a 492-51 (0.906) record, won 15 consecutive SEC
regular season titles (1991-2005), 12 SEC Tournament
titles (1992-96, 1998-03, 2000) and the Gators
have made 15 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament,
including 7 final four appearances and a trip
to the National Championship game in 2003.
The 2005 season brought with it a 33-3 overall
record and a trip to the Elite Eight where Florida
lost to top seeded Nebraska.
Florida has one of the strongest and most storied
women's tennis programs in NCAA history, producing
such former greats as Lisa Raymond and Jill Craybas.
Currently, they are second to only Stanford with
4 NCAA Championships.
Gymnastics was one of the first women's sports
added at the University of Florida and achieved
early success winning the 1982 AIAW Championship.
Since the NCAA took over the championships in
1982, Florida has advanced to the National Championships
(Top 12) 15 times and an additional 10 times,
has advanced to the Super Six. Florida's highest
finish in NCAA competition was as runner-up in
Currently, the Gators are coached by Rhonda Faehn
and finished 4th at the 2006 NCAA Championships.
The Gators are looking forward to next year,
and have signed a national champion, and highly-recruited
Amanda Castillo, and plan on winning the NCAA
Championship for the first time in their history.
In early 2006, the UF Athletic Association announced
they would soon begin play in women's lacrosse,
due to the growth of the sport and increased availability
of competition. They became the second SEC school
to offer lacrosse as a varsity sport, following
Vanderbilt. They will begin play in 2010.
|Mascots, Cheers, and Spirit Program
Costumed in plush to look like American
Alligators, the official mascots of the Florida
Gators are Albert and Alberta.
Albert and Alberta,
University Of Florida
A short video showing alligators moving in on
their prey, with the famous Jaws theme playing
in the background, is displayed on the Daktronics
ProStar Video Board, commonly known as a jumbotron
during every football game before the players
come out of the tunnel. ESPN's College Gameday
analyst Lee Corso, a graduate and former coach
at rival school Florida State, called it one of
the best moments in college football.
The marching band that performs at halftime and
after big plays during the football season is
known as The Pride of the Sunshine.