LOOK: Florida Gators show off diagram for new ‘luxury’ dorms for football players

Florida Gators head football coach Jim McElwain is not taking his new role at one of the top programs in the country lightly. In fact, upon being hired by Florida, McElwain had a list of demands requests, which the Gators and athletic director Jeremy Foley have – to their credit – not wasted time implementing.

In addition to McElwain requesting that plans (and associated costs) for the yet-to-be-built indoor practice be significantly expanded, he also determined that the dorm rooms lived in by Florida football players – which have long been left without renovation or improvement – were simply not up to snuff.

Foley had casually mentioned that plans to renovate those dorms would commence at some point, and McElwain was proud to announce on Thursday that the Keys Residential Complex will be spruced up and ready to go as soon as the fall of 2015 with new “luxury” dorms for his athletes.

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4 BITS: Florida Gators not pleased with O’Connell Center renovation cost projections, negotiating

1 » Florida Gators offensive tackle Roderick Johnson, whose career was deemed to be over after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis back in April, decided to get a second opinion on his condition in hopes of being able to build up his strength and return to the field. Unfortunately for Johnson, the second opinion he received was the same as the first – he needs to hang up his cleats. “[Spoke] with my family and trainers. [I] agree 100% with the professional doctors so Im making my decision on my own to walk away from this game,” he wrote Monday on his Twitter account. “I’m making this decision because I would hate for my mom to see me in a wheel chair. [Mom you’re] my blessing to start a new chapter.”

Johnson, who will remain at Florida on a medical hardship scholarship and is expected to remain with the Gators as a student coach, later added that he now feels like “all the pressure is off my shoulder[s].” Hopefully Johnson will be able to stay involved in the game off football and receive his degree, still allowing him to have a bright future despite this setback.

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Florida Gators football’s new indoor practice facility going up fast, on schedule

Once seen by athletic director Jeremy Foley as a luxury, the indoor practice facility now being built by the Florida Gators quickly became a need for the program, so much so that it scrapped its original plans for a smaller structure in order to build one large enough to placate new head football coach Jim McElwain.

Now, a little more than four months after construction began, the facility remains on pace to open in September ahead of the 2015 season, a construction project manager and Florida spokesman both confirmed to OnlyGators.com this week.

McElwain and the Gators appear pleased with the yet-to-be-completed structure, though there are some questions to be raised and answered about the indoor practice facility.

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Billy Donovan gives Florida Gators softball team a WCWS pep talk in Oklahoma City

The distance between Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators will grow with time but circumstances have kept the two linked together since his departure from the program to take over the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA.

Not only has Donovan reached out to new Florida basketball coach Michael White on numerous occasions and taken out an advertisement in The Gaiensville Sun to thank Gators fans, he continued his support of the softball program this week in Oklahoma City.

Donovan surprised the Florida softball team Wednesday night at its hotel in his new city, giving the Gators a pep talk as they prepared for the 2015 Women’s College World Series.

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McElwain, White, Foley make few waves as Florida Gators reps at 2015 SEC spring meetings

A tumultuous offseason for Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley, one in which he had to hire new head coaches in his two top revenue-producing sports of football and basketball, did not carry over to the Southeastern Conference spring meetings this week where Foley and his new coaches were some of the least news-making people in attendance at the annual event.

Though the meetings will go on for two more days with new Florida president Kent Fuchs set to be in attendance, OnlyGators.com has decided to wrap up the first two days of the proceedings and provide a detailed look at five of the biggest topics actually discussed by the Gators’ representatives in Destin, Florida.

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Michael White embraces challenge as new Florida Gators head basketball coach

Measured and calm, Michael White was introduced Monday as the 20th head basketball coach in the history of the Florida Gators.

While White did not come right out of the gate with a ton of energy or promises, he was deliberate in his statements and accepting of the tall task ahead – replacing legendary coach Billy Donovan. He opened with a lengthy, prepared statement before taking questions from the gathered media, all of which has been captured and broken down here on OnlyGators.com.

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New Florida Gators coach Michael White handles inevitable Billy Donovan comparisons, questions

Introduced to gathered media and a national online audience Monday, new Florida Gators head basketball coach Michael White touched on a number of topics during an extensive stay at the podium, not the least of which was how he compared to – and would try to replace – a program legend in coach Billy Donovan.

Like Donovan was 19 years ago when hired by athletic director Jeremy Foley, White is young, talented and runs an up-tempo offensive system. He’s also never won an NCAA Tournament game and comes to Florida from a smaller program in Louisiana Tech.

To many, he sounds exactly like a young Donovan, a juxtaposition White takes great pride in even if he does not think the comparison is perfect.

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Florida Gators name Jenny Rowland program’s new head gymnastics coach

Making his third major coaching hire this offseason, Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley has tabbed Jenny Rowland as the program’s new gymnastics coach.

Rowland – a former All-American gymnast and member of the U.S. Women’s National Team (1985-90) who was named the 2015 NCAA co-Assistant Coach of the Year – has spent five seasons with Auburn, serving as the program’s associate head coach over the last two campaigns.

“When we started this search, there was one name that kept coming up – Jenny Rowland. What Auburn has done over the past few seasons is quite impressive and she’s played a big role in the Tigers’ progress. We feel confident she’s ready to guide the Gator program,” Foley said.

“She wants Gator gymnasts to thrive in all aspects of their student-athletic career – in the classroom, in the competitive arena and in developing the life skills to be successful following college. She knows what is like to be a competitor on the national, international and collegiate stages. She has what it takes to be a successful recruiter as she’s built relationships with so many in the gymnastics world.”

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