Former UF track coach Jimmy Carnes dead at 76

Former Florida Gators track and field head coach Jimmy Carnes passed away Saturday. He was 76 years old.

Carnes, who coached at the University of Florida from 1965-76, lost a four-year battle with prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife and four children.

“Jimmy Carnes is an icon in the sport of track and field. His contributions to the University of Florida, as well as his sport on a national and international level, have been immeasurable,’’ Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley said in an official statement from the school. “Jimmy has been a great advocate of the sport of track and field and an outstanding citizen in the Gainesville community. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Nanette, and his family.”
Continue Reading » Former UF track coach Jimmy Carnes dead at 76

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FOUR BITS: Dwyer, Holloway, baseball, watch list

1 » The second day of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Swimming Championships, held at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, was just as exciting for the No. 5 Florida Gators men’s team as Wednesday’s opening day. Senior Conor Dwyer, who set two SEC records in one race (800-yard freestyle relay) a day ago, broke yet another on Thursday by swimming the 500-yard freestyle in 4:11.36. The No. 8 women also had some celebrating to do as junior Sarah Bateman set the school record in the 50-yard freestyle. The men’s team jumped up to second place overall after day two (70 points behind leader Auburn), while the women’s team took a hold of first place with a new total of 291 points (five above Georgia).

2 » Florida head swimming coach Gregg Troy was named the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Swimming Team on Dec. 8. Joining him as a Team USA coach in England for the 2012 London Olympics is Gators head track & field coach Mike Holloway, who was picked as an assistant coach for sprinters and hurdlers on Thursday. “It’s an incredible honor to be chosen by my peers to coach on the United States Olympic staff,” Holloway said, according to the University of Florida. “It’s something that I am very proud of, and I look forward to serving my country.”

3 » No. 1 Florida baseball will begin the 2011 season over the weekend with a trio of home games against the South Florida Bulls. The Gators have announced starters for the series but will be without last year’s ace, junior left-handed pitcher Alex Panteliodis (11-3, 3.51 ERA), as the team is being cautious with his return from offseason hip surgery. Sophomore LHP Brian Johnson (6-4, 4.03 ERA) will start the season on the hill. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hudson Randall (8-4, 3.24 ERA) takes over Saturday, and freshman RHP Karsten Whitson, the No. 9 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, will start his career in the orange and blue on the mound Sunday.

4 » Johnson and junior first baseman Preston Tucker received nominations to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list on Thursday. The award, presented to the top amateur player in the country, is sponsored by Major League Baseball but has never been presented to a Florida player in its 33-year history. Both Johnson and Tucker are preseason All-Americans according to Baseball America.

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FOUR BITS: Demps and track, Driskel, Applewhite

1 » Florida Gators sophomore/junior running back Jeff Demps had a tough go of it in 2010. After carrying the ball a career-high 26 times against the Tennessee Volunteers on Sept. 18, Demps sat out or played sparingly the rest of the season with an injured foot but still led the team in rushes (92) and rushing yards (551). Florida track head coach Mike Holloway, who helped Demps win the 60-meter indoor (6.57 seconds) and 100-meter outdoor (9.96 seconds) National Championships last year, said his star will sit out the first competition and may not run until midseason. “Jeff has never run in the first competition, so our goal with Jeff is we’re going to take it day by day and see how he progresses,’” said Holloway during a press conference Monday. “He’s doing fine right now. Our goal is for him to open up in the middle of the season like he did last year. He’s come off a long football season. He’s human and I’m not just going to throw him out there when he’s not quite prepared for it just yet.”

2 » Though he will likely miss a portion of the season, Demps was named to The Bowerman’s 2011 preseason watch list on Wednesday. Awarded by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), The Bowerman honors the sport’s best overall athlete each year. Joining Demps as a preseason watch list member is Gators junior jumper Christian Taylor. Sophomore jumper Will Claye also received honorable mention from the USTFCCCA.

3 » OGGOA reader Austin Hittel sent in a personal video he made of new Florida five-star 2011 quarterback commitment Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) after watching him play a few games this season. Driskel actually sat down with Austin and helped him film some additional scenes for the short, which is both well-produced and executed nicely. With National Signing Day less than a month away and Driskel already on campus, we figured this is something you, our readers, would be interested in. If you have any thoughts for Austin, leave them in our comments section.

4 » Texas Longhorns co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, believed to be a candidate for the Gators’ offensive coordinator position immediately after Will Muschamp was hired as the team’s new head coach, said on Monday that leaving the Longhorns was never a consideration for him. “People called, but I wasn’t interested in anything,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “I’m going to be here. This is my university. I want to help get this fixed.”

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FOUR BITS: Demps, locker room, Sanders, bowl

1 » Though Florida Gators junior running back Jeff Demps has missed most of the regular season after injuring his foot against Tennessee, the school’s track and field coach believes he will be ready for the upcoming season. “In talking to Jeff, everything is status-quo,” head coach Mike Holloway told GatorZone‘s Scott Carter. “The biggest thing with Jeff is: Jeff has another football game to play. When that football game is over, we’ll evaluate where he is going with track. Honestly, they are going through a tough time right now. My main concern is keeping his spirits up so he can keep helping the football team.” Demps won the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship in the men’s 60-meter dash and the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship in the men’s 100-meter dash last season and is expected to be healthy for the team’s Jan. 15, 2011 debut.

2 » Contrary to reports that the Florida football team had damaged and trashed its locker room after the butt-whipping it was handed by the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, FSU’s equipment staff has denied the story. According to The Florida Times-Union’s Michael DiRocco, the Gators’ equipment staff spoke with their Seminoles counterparts and was assured that the locker room was fine and rumor was false. The Orlando Sentinel also spoke with Florida State, which said the rumors have been “completely blown out of proportion” by those online. “To make it clear [Florida] did not trash the locker room in any way,” school spokesman Rob Wilson told the paper.

3 » Florida redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders said via his Twitter account that he had surgery on Monday to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. Though Sanders did not miss any time with the injury, the surgery will likely keep him out for the bowl game but get him healthy enough for NFL workouts early next year.

4 » With bowl games set to be announced shortly, all indications are that the Gators will be accepting a bid for the 2010 Gator Bowl, held on New Year’s Day in Jacksonville, FL. Should Florida be offered and decide to participate in the game, they will face a Big Ten opponent which would likely be either Penn State, Iowa or Michigan.

Photo Credit: Jim Burgess

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Gators honored with USTFCCCA regional awards

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) honored five Florida Gators with South Region awards on Friday for their accomplishments during the 2010 outdoor track & field season.

Senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili (Women’s Field Athlete of the Year), sophomore jumper Christian Taylor (Men’s Field Athlete of the Year), Mike Holloway (Men’s & Women’s Coach of the Year), Dick Booth (Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year) and Steve Lemke (Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year) were all recognized just one week before their team takes part in the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships from June 9-12 in Eugene, OR.

Kevkhishvili, Taylor and Holloway also took home the same respective awards from the Southeastern Conference in May. Holloway has now won five awards in 2010, including the same honors from the USTFCCCA for the indoor season, the 2010 USTFCCCA National Men’s Indoor Head Coach of the Year and the 2010 SEC Indoor Women’s Head Coach of the Year.

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Three Gators earn SEC track & field awards

Florida Gators track & field captured three end-of-season honors from the Southeastern Conference on Monday. Head coach Mike Holloway was named the SEC Men’s Head Coach of the Year, senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili was named the SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year and sophomore jumper Christian Taylor was named the SEC Men’s Field Athlete of the Year.

The University of Florida took home more total awards in this period than any other school, with Ole Miss, Auburn and Tennessee each receiving two honors.

Holloway is racking up the awards this season. He has already been named the 2010 SEC Indoor Women’s Head Coach of the Year, 2010 USTFCCCA National Men’s Indoor Head Coach of the Year and 2010 USTFCCCA Indoor South Region Men’s and Women’s Head Coach of the Year.

One of the most accomplished athletes in school history, Kevkhishvili is hoping to complete an undefeated season and is on the watch list for The Bowerman. A four-time National Champion and seven-time All-American, she won the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship for shot put (her third in four years) and leads the nation with a career-high mark of 18.46m/60-6.75.

Taylor also had a great year, winning the 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship in triple jump and as the third leg of the 4×400-meter relay team. He also finished second in individual point standings at the event.

The Gators track & field program has already captured three titles this season. The men won the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship and 2010 SEC Outdoor Championship, while the women took home the 2010 SEC Indoor Championship. Both programs begin competing for their 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship in the next few days.

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FOUR BITS: Billy D to St. John’s? Allen’s recovery.

1 » OGGOA was going back-and-forth with Tommy Dee of The Knicks Blog during the Florida Gators’ first round 2010 NCAA Tournament game about the potential future move of head coach Billy Donovan to the St. John’s Red Storm. Citing the fact that St. John’s is now willing to spend money on a coach, Dee thought it was possible that a move could happen. Throwing gasoline on that fire is Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News, who claims that Donovan is the “answer to St. John’s coaching needs.” From his time at Providence and with the New York Knicks to his continued ability to recruit out of the northeast, Weiss says the Red Storm should start and end their search with Donovan because “he is the perfect choice for this job.”

2 » On Oct. 16 and exactly one month later on Nov. 16, OGGOA reported that Gators redshirt sophomore forward Adam Allen’s career was likely over after a third surgery on his knee. Allen’s chronic knee, which was thought to be a bone bruise but turned out to be an MCL injury with a “loose” kneecap, appeared to be career-threatening. That is until he met with Dr. Lonnie Paulos at the Andrews Institute, who gave him some encouraging news, according to Gator Country. “[He] said he could probably do some stuff to it,” Allen said. “I had the surgery and after the surgery, he was pretty confident that I would be able to come back.” He hopes to get support from the NCAA to remain a sophomore since one injury has kept him out two seasons.

More on basketball and a National Coach of the Year winner after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Billy D to St. John’s? Allen’s recovery.

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FOUR BITS: Baseball wins, lacrosse falls to No. 5

Bubble Watch » All four teams riding the 2010 NCAA Tournament bubble \in action Tuesday won their respective contests. South Florida (20-11) took down DePaul 58-49, Rhode Island (22-8) defeated Saint Joseph’s 87-76, Dayton (20-11) lit up George Washington 70-60 and Seton Hall (19-11) was victorious over Providence 109-106.

1 » In the first of what will be a 10-game homestand, No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (8-2) took down the Illinois State Redbirds (4-6) 8-2 Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Freshman starter Hudson Randall (2-0) tossed five innings of one-run ball along with five strikeouts as the Gators carried a 8-1 lead into the top of the eighth inning. Freshman first baseman Austin Maddox went 1-4 with a home run in the sixth, three RBI and two runs; sophomore outfielder Tyler Thompson supported him with a 2-4 performance with two RBI; and freshman OF Kamm Washington was 3-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases.

2 » A team filled with mostly freshman, Florida lacrosse has already had a remarkable inaugural season. Looking to put a feather in its cap Tuesday, the Gators (3-2) took the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas (2-1) to the wire, falling 13-11 in just under two hours. Freshman goalkeeper Cara Carrington (3-2) got the loss as fellow freshman Caroline Chesterman contributed three goals and five shots in 65 minutes of field time. Each team accounted for 33 shots and 11 ground balls, but Georgetown cleared more shots than Florida – 17/17 to 12/16. The Hoyas outscored the Gators 10-5 in the first period, but UF came roaring back with a 6-3 total in the second period.

Two more BITS on awards given to the Florida Gators…after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Baseball wins, lacrosse falls to No. 5

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