Billy Donovan (Coach), Scottie Wilbekin (Player) claim AP SEC awards for Florida Gators

No. 1 Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin were named the 2014 Southeastern Conference Coach and Player of the Year, respectively, by the Associated Press on Monday, sweeping the awards after receiving the same honors from league coaches last Tuesday.

Donovan secured his third unanimous (coaches and AP voters) SEC Coach of the Year award, while Wilbekin cemented his place as just the second Florida player in the history of the award to win SEC Player of the Year.

It took Donovan 14 seasons to receive his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships (2006-07), coaching in three title games (2000, 2006-07) and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories (2005-07). Since winning his first SEC Coach of the Year award in 2011, he has dominated the voting with three in the last four seasons.

Donovan, who is one win away from matching Dale Brown (LSU) for all-time wins at an SEC school, had help leading the Gators to their 32-2 record while setting a number of school marks along the way.

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan (Coach), Scottie Wilbekin (Player) claim AP SEC awards for Florida Gators

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Led by Donovan (Coach) and Wilbekin (Player), Florida Gators clean up at 2014 SEC awards

Updated on Wednesday at 1:15 a.m.

The No. 1 Florida Gators cleaned up on Tuesday when the Southeastern Conference released its 2013-14 year-end awards as voted on by league coaches, earning five of the six honors and placing three players on various All-SEC teams.

SEC Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan
SEC Player of the Year: Scottie Wilbekin
SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Patric Young
SEC Sixth Man of the Year: Dorian Finney-Smith
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Patric Young

Leading the pack were head coach Billy Donovan, who captured his third SEC Coach of the Year award (all in the last four seasons), and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who became just the second Florida player in the history of the award to win SEC Player of the Year.

Senior center Patric Young was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and picked up his third-straight SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor, while redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith was awarded SEC Sixth Man of the Year for his contributions off the bench.

It took Donovan 14 seasons to receive his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships (2006-07), coaching in three title games (2000, 2006-07) and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories (2005-07). Since winning his first SEC Coach of the Year award in 2011, he has dominated the voting with three in the last four seasons.

Continue Reading » Led by Donovan (Coach) and Wilbekin (Player), Florida Gators clean up at 2014 SEC awards

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Florida vs. South Carolina preview: Donovan named USA Coach of the Year; Vitale rips NCAA

(10) FLORIDA GATORS SO. CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Martin
Record: 11-2 (0-0 SEC) Record: 7-6 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: Comcast Sports Southeast (Matt Stewart, Daymeon Fishback) [Channel Finder]
SiriusXM: 110/201 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Odds: Florida -16.5

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 40-22 all-time against South Carolina with a 24-11 record against the Gamecocks since Donovan has been coach of the Gators. UF is also 19-7 against USC at home (13-4 under Donovan) and has won four-straight in the O’Dome.
» One of the hottest teams in the country, Florida is on a five-game winning streak and has been victorious in 10 of its last 11 games.
» South Carolina has won four-straight games entering Wednesday night.
» The Gators are attempting to tie the school record for longest home winning streak. UF has won 23-straight games in the O’Dome, going undefeated at its home gym last season.
» Florida is 12-5 in SEC openers (8-0 in Gainesville) under Donoavn.
» The Gators are 64-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding an opponent under 71 points.
» Florida is 5-2 this season in single-digit decisions after going 0-6 in such contests during the 2012-13 campaign.
» The Gators defeated top-15 teams in consecutive games for the fourth time in program history and first time ever in non-conference regular season play.
» Florida is 2-2 against ranked opponents this season with both losses coming in true road games and the victories occurring in a home contest and neutral-site game.
» UF will be putting out the same starting five for the seventh time in its last eight games. In the Gators’ first seven contests, Florida rolled out four different starting lineups.

DONOVAN NAMED USA COACH OF THE YEAR

Donovan on Wednesday was named the 2013 USA Basketball Co-National Coach of the Year after leading the Americans to a 9-0 record and gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships last summer.

“This was such a special event, and I’m very thankful to USA Basketball for the opportunity to coach this team and appreciative of this honor,” Donovan said in a statement. “I thought the people in the Czech Republic did a great job hosting the World Championship. Prague was a great city… I thought the USA did a really great job of fielding a good team and providing a lot of options to put together a great team.”

Continue Reading » Florida vs. South Carolina preview: Donovan named USA Coach of the Year; Vitale rips NCAA

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Florida boosts Muschamp’s salary to $3 million

Head coach Will Muschamp has received a $250,000 raise and will now earn just under $3 million each year through the 2017 season, making him the seventh-highest paid coach in the Southeastern Conference.

According to the Sporting News, which first reported the raise, Muschamp will now bring home $2,928,971 per season before bonuses. That ranks him behind the following SEC head coaches, each of whom has more experience leading a program: Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.5 million), LSU’s Les Miles ($3.8 million), South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier ($3.3 million), Georgia’s Mark Richt ($3.2 million), Arkansas’ Bret Bielema ($3.2 million) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin ($3.1 million).

“[Florida president] Dr. [Bernie] Machen and I believe very strongly in Coach Muschamp and his leadership and we felt it was appropriate to adjust his salary to be more in line with the market value,” said Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley in a statement released to the media and first published by The Gainesville Sun.

Muschamp originally signed a five-year deal worth $13.75 million with Florida in 2011 but received a $500,000 bonus when the Gators, in Jan. 2012, extended his contract through the 2016 season. Just six months later, in Nov. 2012, Florida extended his deal through 2017 and paid Muschamp an additional $250,000 bonus.

He also receives $200,000 per year from Nike and has an annual expense account of over $60,000. Muschamp can earn bonuses of $75,000 for winning the Southeastern Conference Championship and $250,000 for winning the BCS National Championship in addition to universal salary increases for various bowl game appearances.

In his first two seasons with the Gators, Muschamp has tallied an 18-8 record. Florida had a four-game turnaround in 2012, going from 7-6 the previous season to 11-2 at the end of last year’s campaign. Muschamp, who was named Co-SEC Coach of the Year (along with Sumlin) in 2012, is 1-1 in bowl games, 2-0 against Tennessee, 1-1 against Florida State, 1-1 against LSU and 0-2 against Georgia.

Photo Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press

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FOUR BITS: lacrosse, tennis, Moss, Sloan

1 » After having just player receive an individual honor in 2012, Florida Gators lacrosse swept the positional awards and took home a major coaching honor from the American Lacrosse Conference in 2013. Seniors Kitty Cullen (Offensive Player of the Year), Sam Farrell (Defensive Player of the Year), Brittany Dashiell (Midfielder of the Year) and Mikey Meagher (Goalie of the Year) each won the individual awards while head coach Amanda O’Leary was named Coach of the Year. Florida also saw five players – the aforementioned plus sophomore Shannon Gilroy named to the All-ALC First Team – with senior Ashley Bruns and senior Emily Dohony earning Second Team honors. Next up for the Gators is the 2013 ALC Tournament, which starts for Florida in the semifinals on Friday at 4 p.m.

2 » No. 1 Gators women’s tennis (22-2) was named the top overall seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament and will host first- and second-round action in Gainesville, FL from May 11-12 as it looks to advance to the NCAA Round of 16. Florida opens up against Marist College (11-7) in the first round and will face the winner of No. 22 Georgia Tech (14-9) vs. No. 37 Yale (17-3). This will be the 15th consecutive year that UF is hosting the opening rounds of the tournament. Also announced this week were the three women’s tennis players who have earned the opportunity to compete for the 2013 NCAA Singles Championship; competition begins at the conclusion of the team tournament. Senior Lauren Embree (No. 1 overall seed), junior Alex Cercone and junior Sofie Oyen will all play in the 64-player draw with Embree and Oyen also teaming up for the 32-team 2013 NCAA Doubles Championship tournament.

Read two more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: lacrosse, tennis, Moss, Sloan

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Florida’s Lauren Embree named SEC Player of the Year for third time; Gators pick up SEC awards

Florida Gators senior Lauren Embree was named the 2013 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year on Wednesday, becoming the first player in the history of the award to be honored with it three times in her career.

Embree, who was also named SEC Player of the Year in 2010 and 2012, is 39-0 for her career in singles matches during conference play. She is 17-0 overall this season and 10-0 against SEC opponents. Embree has also been a catalyst in the Gators winning eight total SEC Championships including four-straight SEC regular-season titles and four-straight SEC Tournament titles.

“It is really special to me,” Embree said in a school release. “I’ve never thought I’d be the first player to win this award so many times because there are and have been so many talented and great players in the SEC.

“I’m not really focused on awards. I just try and come out every day and win for the team and for my teammates. It’s an extra cool award to get and it’s something I want to thank my coaches and teammates who have helped me.”

Head women’s tennis coach Roland Thornqvist, who was named SEC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in the last 11 seasons, praised Embree just like he has throughout her entire career.

Continue Reading » Florida’s Lauren Embree named SEC Player of the Year for third time; Gators pick up SEC awards

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Billy Donovan named 2013 AP SEC Coach of the Year; Erik Murphy on AP First Team All-SEC

It took 15 seasons with the Florida Gators for head coach Billy Donovan to earn his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships, coaching in three title games and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories.

Coming off his fifth league regular season title (third outright) and a tough loss in the finals of the 2013 SEC Tournament, Donovan learned Tuesday that he has won his second unanimous conference coaching award in the last three seasons as he was chosen as the 2013 SEC Coach of the Year by Associated Press voters.

Donovan’s peers chose him to represent them as SEC Coach of the Year last Tuesday.

The Gators (26-7) are ranked No. 12/14 in the latest top 25 polls and have earned a No. 3 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Florida did not capture the SEC Tournament title but is hoping to advantage to at least its third-straight Elite Eight.

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan named 2013 AP SEC Coach of the Year; Erik Murphy on AP First Team All-SEC

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Billy Donovan named 2013 SEC Coach of the Year; six Florida Gators earn SEC postseason honors

It took 15 seasons with the Florida Gators for head coach Billy Donovan to earn his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships, coaching in three title games and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories. Coming off his fifth league regular season title (third outright), Donovan learned Tuesday that he has won his second conference coaching award in the last three seasons as he was chosen as the 2013 SEC Coach of the Year by his peers.

Donovan’s Gators (24-6, 14-4 SEC) opened the SEC slate with eight-straight victories and a 27.75-point margin of victory in those games. Though Florida slid a bit and lost four of its final 10 games in-conference, the Gators still won the league title outright and were the only team in the SEC to remain in the top 25 polls all season long.

UF finished 15-0 at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the season, the second-best home record in school history (18-0 – 2006-07) and fifth time Donovan has led his team to an undefeated record in the O’Dome.

Florida also helped Donovan achieve his 15th-straight 20-win season dating back to 1999. He has the third-longest active streak of 20-win seasons behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (17) and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (16) and fifth-longest all-time.

Donovan is now known as the dean of SEC coaches despite being younger than five of his other 13 peers. In his 17th season with the Gators, he is the longest tenured active head coach in the league and has seen 28 coaches come and go through the SEC while he has remained at Florida.

He also this season became the third coach in SEC history to win 400 games and heads into the 2013 SEC Tournament with 410 wins, just 38 behind LSU’s Dale Brown (448) and many more back of Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp (875).

Florida also had a number of its players honored Tuesday by the league’s coaches:

Senior forward Erik Murphy was chosen for the First Team All-SEC with senior guard Kenny Boynton, redshirt senior G Mike Rosario and junior center Patric Young each earning Second Team nods. (Rosario and Young tied in voting; ties are not broken.)

Young, who was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Monday, and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin were named to the SEC All-Defensive Team, and freshman G Michael Frazier II won a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Other league awards went to Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SEC Player of the Year), Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel (SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year) and UK’s Kyle Wiltjer (SEC Sixth Man of the Year).

Photo Credit: Unknown

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