Florida athletics receives largest-ever $12.5 million donation for student facility

The University of Florida’s University Athletic Association on Friday announced receipt of $12.5 million from an anonymous donor, which is being billed as the largest-ever donation to the program.

The $12.5 million will go towards a massive $25 million renovation to the Office of Student Life, which the Florida Gators believe will be a huge benefit to current athletes and a massive recruiting tool for future Gators.

The renovation will improve academic programs for all 480 Florida athletes across 21 varsity sports. Renovations will begin in March for what will be named the Otis Hawkins Center for Academic and Personal Excellence.

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Spikes, Garcia, Easley

1 » Though playing in the NFL again remains his top priority, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is doing whatever he can to be the best television analyst possible in his new role with the SEC Network. According to SI.com’s Richard Deitsch, Tebow is heavily involved in his new position and going so far as to pester SEC Nation host Joe Tessitore with questions both in and out of work. “I know when Tim states a goal he stays the course, so I understand why he firmly expresses fulfilling his NFL dreams,” Tessitore told Deitsch. “It’s who Tim is. I also know that he loves this SEC Nation job with us. I know he considers us his team. I know that he has told our producers that he wants constant feedback, he wants to be coached, and he wants to be great at TV. He calls and texts me non-stop to discuss every detail of everything we’re doing. Just last week I fielded one of his pressing concerns about a potential 90 second telestration piece he was going to voice over and explain for a broadcast — a broadcast that is still 10 days away. That’s commitment to preparation.” The first SEC Nation show will air on Thursday from 4-6 p.m. on SEC Network ahead of the channel’s first-ever live college football game – Texas A&M at South Carolina.

2 » CBSSports.com senior editor Tony Moss ranked all 128 FBS head coaches by how successful they were as football players. As it turns out, two coaches tied to Florida were placed in the top 20 of the rankings. Checking in at No. 20 is current Gators head football coach Will Muschamp, a walk-on strong safety at Georgia who became a team captain as a senior. No. 1 overall, of course, was former Florida Heisman Trophy-winning QB Steve Spurrier.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Spikes, Garcia, Easley

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Women’s football clinic was one for the books

Long-time OGGOA reader Jennifer contacted us last week and offered to share with our readers her experience at the Florida Gators’ annual Women’s Football Clinic hosted this year for the first time by new head coach Will Muschamp. Below is her account from the exciting day (pictures included).

I heard about this event about a year ago and always thought it sounded interesting. After rounding up a couple of friends, we registered and were off to Gainesville. The day started in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. After checking in, where we were given a t-shirt and small goodie bag, we were free to roam around the ballroom and meet the coaches. Even though I am a huge sports and Gators fan, with all of the new coaching changes, the only coaches I could recognize at first were Coach Muschamp, [linebackers/special teams coach] D.J. Durkin and [defensive coordinator] Dan Quinn. As we walked around we got autographs, took pictures and briefly chatted with the assistant coaches and grad assistant coaches. All were very friendly and seemed pumped up about the day’s activities.

One coach stood out among our favorites for his personality and friendliness, which only got better throughout the day. That was tight ends coach Derek Lewis. He was funny, saying a few times to the ladies throughout the morning and during some of the presentations that “tight ends” really are a football position. Another of our favorites was [wide receivers coach] Aubrey Hill, who when we took pictures with him, told us to “bring it in tight” and pulled us close for a picture with a huge smile on his face.

After mingling with the coaches in attendance, we proceeded to buy some raffle tickets and then moved over to the longest line, which was the opportunity to get a professional picture take with Coach Muschamp. We weren’t allowed to get his autograph or take our own pictures here, but many had the opportunity to do so later in the day as he was walking around. Also in attendance were Muschamp’s two boys and his wife, though they weren’t introduced to the crowd.

Everyone took their seats and the crowd got to listen to Coach Muschamp. It was similar to what you reported from the local Gator Gatherings. Then the crowd was given the opportunity to ask questions. He said why a few of the coaches couldn’t make it that day including [offensive coordinator] Charlie Weis, who he said had knee replacement surgery on Wednesday, and Mickey Marotti, who had a family obligation and “family comes first.” Coach Muschamp said he finished moving to Gainesville on Thursday and jokingly added that he still had lots of extra boxes, if anyone had extra time.

Read the rest of Jennifer’s story from the clinic including a few interesting details related to the football team…after the break!
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Statues of Heisman Trophy winners coming soon

Portions of the following article first appeared on OGGOA on Feb. 2, 2010.

If the enshrinement of “The Promise” speech outside Heavener Football Complex was not enough for you, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will now be immortalized in front of The Swamp as a bronze statue, too.

The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley learned back in February that Tebow – along with former QB Danny Wuerffel and former head coach and QB Steve Spurrier – will be enshrined in bronze statues on the west side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The goal of the project is to not only honor the Gators’ three Heisman Trophy winners but also, arguably, the three most important players in program history. Dooley reported that the University Athletic Association hired sculptor W. Stanley “Sandy” Proctor out of Tallahassee, FL, to work on the three statues.

The Sun has since confirmed that the University Athletic Association board unanimously approved the project Wednesday.

Each statue will be 15 percent larger than life-sized and will feature the players in different stances. Tebow will have the ball tucked and in a running motion while Wuerffel and Spurrier will be dropping back to pass.

In all, the statues will cost $550,000 – all funded by private donations – and will be installed in front of the stadium at the beginning of 2011. Tebow, Wuerffel and Spurrier are all expected to attend the ceremony.

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Statues of Tebow, Wuerffel, Spurrier at stadium?

If the enshrinement of “The Promise” speech outside Heavener Football Complex is not enough for you, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow may be immortalized in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as a bronze statue, too.

The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley has learned that Tebow along with former QB Danny Wuerffel and former head coach and QB Steve Spurrier will be enshrined in statues somewhere either inside or outside of The Swamp if everything goes as planned.

The goal is to not only honor the Gators’ three Heisman Trophy winners but also, arguably, the three most important players in school history. Dooley reports that the University Athletic Association has hired sculptor Sandy Proctor out of Tallahassee, FL, to work on the three statues and the process is underway (though there are, of course, a few speed bumps).

Proctor has already spent two hours with Wuerffel, will meet with Spurrier on Tuesday in Gainesville, FL, and plans to sit down with Tebow sometime in the future.

Former Florida wide receiver and current NBC Sunday Night Football color commentator Cris Collinsworth will be awarded the Pat Summerall Award on Thurs., Feb. 4 at the Legends for Charity Dinner. The award is presented to an individual with a connection to the NFL who has made a significant contribution to the sports field.

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