Ratliff, Stanley, Cruz, Yohe headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2014 inductees

Seven former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Keiwan Ratliff (football), Mike Stanley (baseball) and Aury Cruz (volleyball) – and one Distinguished Letterwinner will be inducted as the UF Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2014 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Wednesday that the honors will be bestowed upon these former players at the Hall of Fame Banquet on March 7 at 6 p.m. 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 Jenny Gladding (softball), Justin O’Neal (men’s tennis), Colleen Rosensteel (women’s track & field) and Sarah Yohe (soccer) as well as Distinguished Letterwinner Harrison Wilder (swimming).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments…
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Grossman, Mitts, Pearson, Fogg headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2013 inductees

Eight former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Rex Grossman (football), Heather Mitts (soccer), Mike Pearson (football) and Josh Fogg (baseball) – and one honorary letterwinner will be inducted as the UF Athletic Hall of Fame‘s 2013 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Monday that the honors will be bestowed upon these former players at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 5, 2013 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are normally divided into three categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners. The remainder of the 2013 class includes Gator Greats Jeff Davis (wrestling), Riko Higashio (women’s golf) and Chrissy Van Fleet (gymnastics) as well as Distinguished Letterwinner Larry Morris (football) and Honorary Letterwinner Ernestine Russell Weaver (gymnastics).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments…
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Brown, Wambach, Haslem, five others will be UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductees

Eight former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Alex Brown (football), Abby Wambach (soccer) and Udonis Haslem (men’s basketball) – will be inducted as the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame‘s 2012 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Wednesday that the honors will be bestowed upon them at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 6, 2012 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are normally divided into three categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners. The remainder of the 2012 class includes Gator Greats Hazel Clark Riley (women’s track & field), Kristen Guise Lee (gymnastics), Jeff Morrison (men’s tennis) and Stephanie Nickitas (women’s tennis) as well as Distinguished Letterwinner Larry Travis (football).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the break.
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Peterson, Emrick highlight 2011 Hall of Fame class

Seven letterwinners, including Gator Greats Mike Peterson (football) and Bob Emrick (men’s basketball), will be inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame 2011 class on Friday. The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. will hand out these prestigious honors to the group of Florida Gators at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 8, 2011, in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

According to UF, “inductees are divided into three different categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.” The remainder of the induction class includes Gator Greats Dawn Buth (women’s tennis), Judd Davis (football), Michelle Freeman (women’s track & field), Mimosa McNerney (women’s swimming), Distinguished Letterwinner Keith Tribble (football), and Honorary Letterwinner Dr. Richard Shaara (team physician).

More about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the break.
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Florida spring practice will be closed to public

The Will Muschamp era of Florida Gators football will begin with a measure put in place that even former head coach Urban Meyer did not institute during his time in the orange and blue: 2011 spring practice will be closed to the public.

“With a new coaching staff here teaching our system, we feel like minimizing our distractions is important,’’ Muschamp said in an official statement. “We realize that there is high interest from the fans, and we are extremely appreciative of the support that The Gator Nation gives us. We hope that they understand that this decision has been made in the interest of helping our program be successful on Saturdays this fall by allowing our team to learn and develop together in this type of environment.

“We also respect that the media have a job to do and understand that this creates a challenge for them, so we ask for their patience with us as we work through our first spring practice here at Florida.’’

Fans will be able to get their first look at the new Gators team on April 9 at the 2011 Orange & Blue Debut spring game. The event will air live on Sun Sports beginning at noon. Tickets are free for students, Gator Boosters and members of the Alumni Association and F Club. A limited number of free tickets are available to the public; otherwise the cost is $5 per person.

Florida also announced Wednesday that Pro Day will be held for those players hoping to be selected in the 2011 NFL Draft on March 15 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Among those expected to participated, according to UF, are center Mike Pouncey, safety Ahmad Black, punter Chas Henry and guard Carl Johnson.

OGGOA has previously been informed that running back Emmanuel Moody, defensive linemen Terron Sanders and Justin Trattou will also be participating along with a number of other former seniors/graduates.

In the past, Pro Day had been open to both the public and the media. This time around, only the media will be allowed to attend.

“Pro Day is an extremely important day for the career hopes of these players, and they’ve spent an enormous amount of time and energy preparing for it,” Florida associate athletics director for communications Steve McClain said in a release.

“We feel that creating a more private environment and minimizing potential distractions will help give them the best chance to perform up to their potential. We also feel like it’s become more important than ever for us to monitor who is around our team and student-athletes, and taking this step provides us an even greater ability to manage that.”

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Peterson, Emrick highlight 2011 Hall of Fame class

Seven former letterwinners, including Gator Greats Mike Peterson (football) and Bob Emrick (men’s basketball) will be inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame 2011 class. The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced the class on Wednesday, which will receive their honors at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 8, 2011, in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

According to UF, “inductees are divided into three different categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.” The remainder of the induction class includes Gator Greats Dawn Buth (women’s tennis), Judd Davis (football), Michelle Freeman (women’s track & field), Mimosa McNerney (women’s swimming>, Distinguished Letterwinner Keith Tribble (football), and Honorary Letterwinner Dr. Richard Shaara (team physician).

More about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the jump.
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Greiner dies, Florida basketball loses a friend

Former Florida Gators basketball player and friend to the program Augie Greiner has passed away. He was 76.

A student-athlete from 1953-56, Greiner was nicknamed “the Gun” due to the fact that he was a shooter who loved to have the ball in his hands. He won the MVP award as a freshman and was the backbone to the basketball team for four seasons.

“I never have seen a shot I didn’t like,” he once said, according to the University of Florida.

After college, he continued playing in men’s leagues in Ocala while opening up what eventually would become a successful business – Greiner’s Clothing – in 1962. Greiner was also enshrined in the F Club Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Letterwinner, one who has “made major contributions to the University’s athletic program through personal time, effort, interest and many years of continued service.”

More than three decades ago, Greiner established the Ocala Tip-Off Club in order to raise money and provide scholarship endowments for the Florida basketball program; he did this while also serving as a member of the Gator Boosters Board of Directors. The club has allotted funds for more than a half-dozen scholarships to-date and is the largest of its kind in the state.

When UF decided to hire Billy Donovan as the Gators’ head coach in 1996, Greiner was there from the get-go to support the team and its new leader. He would meet with Donovan privately, attend practices and even take players aside to provide some individual advice when necessary.

And when Donovan temporarily left Florida for the NBA only to return to the school days later, Greiner was believed to have been a close confidant and perhaps even one of the motivating factors in the decision. Over the years, the Donovans and Greiners have kept in close contact and developed a unique and lasting friendship.

It should be no surprise that an office in the basketball complex is named after Greiner due to his contributions to the program over the years and love for Gators basketball.

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Greiner family and will update this story.

Photo Credits: University of Florida

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Former Gators safety Jarvis Williams dead at 45

Former Florida Gators hall of fame safety Jarvis Williams, Sr. (1965-2010) passed away Tuesday evening. He was 45-years-old.

Though earlier reports stated Williams suffered a massive heart attack, the actual cause of death was ruled to be an acute asthma attack, according to a medical examiner. A person close to his family confirmed his passing to OGGOA early Wednesday morning.

Williams competed for the Gators as a defensive back from 1984 to 1987 under then-head coach Galen Hall. He started every game (45) for four consecutive seasons (third-most in school history), was twice named first-team All-Southeastern Conference and garnered national honors as a first-team All-American in 1987.

During Williams’ career at Florida, he recorded 239 total tackles including 172 unassisted. His 10 career interceptions ranked third all-time for the Gators when he graduated. He led the 1987 team in tackles (77) and punt return yards (222) and was also a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (nation’s top defensive back) that year.

Drafted with the No. 42 overall pick in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, Williams would play there for six seasons before finishing his career with the New York Giants. As a professional, he nabbed 16 interceptions (five in 1990) with three sacks and one recorded touchdown.

He played most of his career with fellow Florida safety Louis Oliver, who also made the transition from the Gators to the Dolphins, getting drafted in the first round in 1989.

“Jarvis was just a great person. He’d give you the shirt off his back, he was funny as hell, great teammate, great person. There was nothing bad to say about him,” Oliver told the Palm Beach Post. “He just made the transition from college to professional ball so much easier for me, because he knew the system when I got here. [...] I’ve always known Jarvis to pretty much stay in shape – shooting basketball, jogging, running, and when I got the news that he had a heart attack, that kind of shocked me. I stopped breathing this morning when I got the news. It’s just a sad day.”

After retiring, Williams was honored with an induction into the University of Florida’s Athletic Hall of Fame (F Club) as a Gator Great in 2001. He was also named to The Gainesville Sun‘s All-Century Team, as voted by its readers in 1999.

As recently as March 12, Williams competed with a bevy of other Florida players at the Miracle of Life Foundation golf tournament hosted by Emmitt Smith and Darryl Perry.

“[I am] deeply saddened to hear that Jarvis Williams has passed,” Smith said via Twitter. “Man…[he was] only 45 years old. Had the chance and the luxury to play with him. Man…Jarvis [was] such a great football player and person. I still remem[ber] the hit Jarvis put on Melvin Bratton in one of the games when I was being recruited by Florida. Jarvis will be missed. Heartfelt condolences to his fam[ily].”

Oliver on the above clip: “I remember it like it was yesterday – playing it up at UF, Bratton coming over the middle and Jarvis just knocking the s*** out of him. But he did that a lot. He did that in practice, he did that at Florida, he did that in games with the Dolphins.”

OGGOA sends our deepest condolences to the Williams family. We will update this story as more information is made available.

Photo Credit: George Tiedemann/Sports Illustrated

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