Florida Gators men’s and women’s diving coach Donnie Craine, 61, died Thursday afternoon in a boating accident 260 miles south of Gainesville, Florida in Bokeelia.
According to The Associated Press:
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is investigating the accident, says two vessels turned in the same direction near Pine Island in southwest Florida and collided. Two people were aboard one boat, and four in the other. The others in the crash suffered only minor injuries and did not require treatment.
Craine had just completed his 37th year as a coach, 32nd at UF. His accomplished career both started (1976-81) and has now ended (1989-2014) with the Gators.
“Our thoughts are with Mindy, their family and all who had a chance to know and be coached by him,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a school release. “This is such sad news about Donnie Craine. Donnie loved being a Gator and spent his career here coaching our men’s and women’s diving athletes. He will be missed.”
Craine was named the NCAA Diving Coach of the Year in 1985 while at Arkansas and SEC Men’s Diving Coach of the Year in 1988 with LSU. He was also a six-time SEC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year with the last three of those awards coming as the head coach at Florida (1998, 2010-11).
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Craine coached divers to five individual national championships (two with the Gators) and 19 SEC titles (12 at Florida).
Along with head swimming coach Gregg Troy, Craine helped the Gators program win two women’s NCAA Championships, 11 women’s SEC Championships (eight-straight) and eight men’s SEC Championships (five-straight).
“You’ll never meet a nicer guy than Donnie Craine,” Troy said. “He was caring for not just the athletes he worked with, but for everyone he came in touch with. He was a tremendous family man. This is a great loss to everyone.”
OnlyGators.com sends our deepest condolences to the Craine family.
R.I.P. to head @GatorZoneSwimDv diving coach Donnie Crane. He was a great man. You will be missed
— Ryan Lochte (@RyanLochte) April 24, 2014
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