Let’s talk about the No. 1 Florida Gators volleyball team and coach Mary Wise

By Adam Silverstein
October 5, 2017
Let’s talk about the No. 1 Florida Gators volleyball team and coach Mary Wise
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Image Credit: ESPNI

A funny thing has happened with the Florida Gators athletics program while the football team has begun yet another season of endless headlines and men’s basketball is kicking into gear: Volleyball is putting together a dominant campaign that deserves more attention.

Florida volleyball reached No. 1 in the AVCA Top 25 back on Sept. 25 for just the third time in program history (1996, 2010). The Gators are the lone remaining unbeaten team in the nation and improved to 12-0 (4-0 SEC) on Wednesday night after beating Texas A&M. The victory continues the fourth-best start to a season in program history and marked the 887th career win for head coach Mary Wise, who now holds the record for most Division I volleyball victories among female head coaches.

While Florida did have three home games cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, that did not slow its roll. UF opened the season with a 3-2 win over No. 5 Nebraska before sweeping a couple ACC teams, including No. 16 North Carolina, in Puerto Rico. It then blasted No. 19 Florida State 3-0 back at home before winning four straight matches to open up its Southeastern Conference schedule.

The Gators have been tremendously successful under Wise with 22 SEC regular-season titles, 12 SEC Tournament victories (until the event stopped in 2005) and seven trips to the Final Four in her 21-season tenure. Though Florida has not missed a single NCAA Tournament under Wise, it has not advanced to the Final Four or played for a national title since 2003.

In other words, if there’s any Gators coach who is deserving of adding a national title to their resume, it’s Wise, and perhaps she has finally compiled a Florida volleyball team that can bring her back to that Promised Land.

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