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June 11, 2012
FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: After camping at UF, quarterback favors two schools | Insider Camp Report | Florida football camp kicks off | Five-star cornerback Hargreaves visits the Gators | Two Rivals100 visitors on Friday | UF looking to add a quarterback in Class of 2013 | Roster Review - Defense | Roster Review - Offense | Florida commitments and targets in the Rivals100
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Last event heroics were desperately needed by Gators men's track and field over the weekend, but Florida got just that on Saturday to propel the team to victory and the first NCAA Outdoor Championship in program history. Down two points to LSU heading into the final event, UF received a 2012 world-leading effort in the 4x400-meter relay to win the event in 3:00.02 and clinch the national title. The Gators actually won three individual championships over the weekend with junior sprinter Tony McQuay also winning the 400-meter dash (44.58 seconds) and junior jumper Omar Craddock taking home the triple jump (16.92m/55-6.25). It was the first time in school history that Florida won either the 1,600-meter relay or 400-meter dash; however, the triple jump was UF's sixth national title in the event in as many seasons (three indoor, three outdoor). It is the first time in school history that the Gators have won three national championships in the same season with women's tennis winning their second-straight title in May and men's track & field also capturing the indoor title. Saturday's victory marked the 29th national championship in school history and 20th since athletic director Jeremy Foley was hired to his position.
In another first for the school, Florida baseball advanced to the College World Series for the third-straight season with a big 9-8 victory over N.C. State in Super Regional action on Sunday. The Gators needed seven pitchers, three clutch home runs and 10 full innings to register the come-from-behind victory but wound up capturing the win and remaining undefeated in 2012 NCAA Tournament action. UF is 5-0 since their first tournament game on June 1 and has outscored their opponents by a combined 41-14. Florida will face either South Carolina or Oklahoma to start the CWS but will not learn of their opponent until the Super Regional between the two teams concludes on Monday.
Nearly two weeks removed from the resignations of a pair of head coaches, the Gators announced two new hires on Friday. Foley promoted Emily Bastel to lead the women's golf team and hired Georgia Tech women's tennis coach Bryan Shelton away from the Yellow Jackets to coach the Florida men's team. Bastel reportedly blew away Foley and senior associate director Mike Spiegler away in her interview; she also had every member of the team lobbying on her behalf, according to a report from UF. Shelton was a strong recommendation from head women's tennis coach Ron Thornqvist who called him "the best [coach] in the country - on the men's or women's side." Unlike Bastel, who will be holding her first head coaching gig, Shelton has plenty of experience having spent the last 13 years at Georgia Tech. He won the school's only NCAA Championship in 2007, four-straight ACC regular season titles, four ACC Tournaments and two ITA National indoor Team Championships. Shelton was named USTA/ITA National Coach of the Year in 2007 and ACC Coach of the Year four times while also coaching two ACC Players of the Year, an NCAA Singles Championship and two ITA National Players of the Year.
Israel has granted former Gators forward Alex Tyus temporary citizenship, a status that will allow him to train with the country's national team and likely compete in the European Qualification games in 2013. Tyus, who spent his first year out of college playing for Maccabi Ashdod and helped lead the team to the league finals (they lost 83-63 to Maccabi Tel Aviv), has become a popular player in the area. He averaged 12.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in his rookie season. Tyus and his wife converted to Judaism prior to leaving for Israel last summer.
New England locked up tight end Rob Gronkowski with a six-year, $53 million extension (the richest contract for a player at that position in NFL history) over the weekend, a decision that is leaving some to wonder what the team plans to do with former Florida TE Aaron Hernandez. Like Gronkowski, Hernandez was selected by the Patriots in the 2010 NFL Draft and scheduled to hit restricted free agency in 2013. Also like Gronkowski, Hernandez has been an extremely effective playmaker for New England (he has caught 124 passes for 1,473 yards and 13 touchdowns over two seasons with the team). The problem for Hernandez is that he still has two years left on his deal at an extremely low salary and could always be franchise tagged for approximately $5.5 million. The Patriots do not have a good reason to sign him to an equally profitable extension though Hernandez will undoubtedly feel like he deserves one and should be paid as a No. 1 tight end, which he would be on most teams in the league.
Gators freshman guard Bradley Beal is inching closer and closer to the 2012 NBA Draft (June 28). With just weeks remaining until he learns where he will begin his professional career, Beal will continue visiting and working out for teams that currently hold or are interested in trading up for some of the top picks in the draft. According to his agent Mark Bartelstein (via CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman), Beal is scheduled to work out for Washington (No. 3 overall) on Thursday, Cleveland (No. 4 and No. 24 overall) on Saturday and Charlotte (No. 2 overall) a week from Monday.