Seven former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Matt Bonner (basketball), Nicole McCray (volleyball) and Camilo Villegas (men’s golf) – will be inducted as members of the UF Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2015 class.
The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Tuesday that the honors will be bestowed upon these former players at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 10 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Inductees are divided into three distinct categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.
The remainder of the 2014 class includes Gator Greats Camilo Benedetti (men’s golf), Beth Farmer (women’s track & field, cross country), Candice Scott (women’s track & field) and Stephanie Zunich Donley (women’s swimming).
Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments…
UF defines Gator Greats as “letterwinners who have brought recognition and prominence to the University and to themselves through athletic accomplishments as an undergraduate,” while Distinguished Letterwinners are “letterwinners who have made major contributions to the University’s athletic program through personal time, effort, interest and many years of continued service. They may have also distinguished themselves as exceptional in their chosen field of endeavor.”
Biographies of the future 2015 inductees (some information courtesy of GatorZone):
Camilo Benedetti – Men’s Golf (1999-2002)
A three-time All-American and three-time All-SEC selection, Benedetti was a member of the Gators’ 2001 NCAA Championship team and can still be found throughout Florida’s record book listed in the top 10 of dozens of categories. He has spent the last decade playing as a professional and has earned nearly $750,000 since 2003 on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour.
Matt Bonner – Basketball (1999-2003)
The only player in Gators basketball history to be thrice named an Academic All-American, Bonner is also one of two players in school history to earn National Academic All-American of the Year honors (2001-02). On the court, Bonner was two-time All-American and three-time All-SEC selection who was a member of two SEC Championship teams. He remains 10th in school history in points scored (1,570) and games played (131), and is also ninth in field goals made (580) and fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.474). Bonner, a two-time team captain, was Florida’s leading scorer in 2002-03 and leading rebounder in 2000-01. He is also responsible for one of just 101 30-point games in school history. Since leaving UF, Bonner has played professional basketball in the NBA and is entering his 11th season in the league. He has spent the last eight seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and has won two NBA Championships with the franchise.
Beth Farmer – Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country (1982-85)
A walk-on student-athlete who can still be found throughout UF’s record books for her distance running, Farmer was a six-time All-American for the Gators (four track, two cross country) who also captured three SEC Championships. Farmer won the 1983 outdoor title for the 10K and went back-to-back as 3K indoor champion in 1984-85.
Nicole McCray – Volleyball (1999-2002)
One of the best players in Florida volleyball history, McCray is a three-time All-American and three-time first-team All-SEC selection who played on four SEC Championship teams. The 2000 SEC Player of the Year, McCray was a catalyst to the Gators’ 2002 NCAA Final Four run and holds a number of UF career records. She ranks second all-time in block assists (440), third in total blocks (529), sixth in block solos (89), seventh in points (1,663) and ninth in kills (1,274), sets played (442) and hitting percentage (.352). McCray has since put together a distinguished coaching career, last spending five years as the head volleyball coach at Panola College before accepting the top job at White Oak in 2013.
Candice Scott – Women’s Track & Field (2001-05)
A five-time NCAA National Champion, Scott won weight throw titles in 2002, 2004-05 and hammer throw crowns in 2003-04. Scott currently holds Gators program records in both disciplines and often throughout her career obtained NCAA-record marks in the events. She picked up 10 All-American nods during her career and has competed internationally for Trinidad and Tobago since graduation, participating in the 2004 Athens Olympics (ninth place, hammer throw) and 2008 Beijing Olympics (40th place, hammer throw).
Camilo Villegas – Men’s Golf (2001-04)
Arguably the best collegiate golfer in school history, Villegas is a four-time first-team All-American and four-time All-SEC selection who was a member of the Gators’ 2001 NCAA National Championship team. He is responsible for the best round in school history by a freshman (64), sophomore (62) and junior (62), and was Florida’s stroke average leader all four years of his college career. Villegas is also responsible for three of the top four single-season stroke averages in school history, holding down the first, second and fourth spots. Since turning pro, Villegas has racked up 10 tour wins including four on the PGA Tour. He also claims three top-10 finishes in major championships (2008 U.S. Open, 2008 PGA Championship, 2010 PGA Championship) and has earned nearly $17.5 million in his 11-year professional career.
Stephanie Zunich Donley – Women’s Swimming (1988-91)
Tied for seventh all-time in Florida women’s swimming history with seven NCAA National Championships (two individual, five relays), Zurch is a 20-time All-American who holds UF’s sixth-best time in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.37).