PARTING THOUGHTS: MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators track & field came through with five individual national titles over the last four days at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Junior jumper Marquis Dendy won the men's triple jump and men's long jump for Florida, junior thrower Fawn Miller captured the women's javelin crown, junior sprinter Dedric Dukes earned the title in the men's 200 meters, and Dukes anchored the men's 4x100 relay team. The Gators totaled eight individual national championships and two team crowns as the 2013-14 athletic season comes to a close. UF also captured 23 individual SEC titles and nine conference team championships (seven SEC, two ALC).
A funny video (Orr paying for his food at Publix) was posted Monday morning by Florida redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr, who taped himself not only shopping at Publix but also checking out with steak, milk and orange juice…and paying for it. Orr poked fun at Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in the video, noting that Gators pay for their groceries. He even had the cashier confirm his purchase.
The NBA Finals ended Sunday night with the San Antonio Spurs winning the championship for the fifth time in 15 years and first since 2007. Along for the ride was Florida forward Matt Bonner, who averaged 6.8 minutes per contest after sitting out Game 1 and mostly came into the game during blowouts. Bonner won his second NBA ring, marking the fourth-straight season and sixth time since 2006 that at least one former Gators player has captured the NBA title. A grand total of nine NBA rings have been won by Florida players since 2006.
On Saturday, UF announced the hiring of J.C. Deacon as the new men's golf coach. Replacing veteran Buddy Alexander, who retired in April after 27 years on the job, Deacon comes to Florida having only been an assistant for four years at UNLV. He is the seventh head coach that athletic director Jeremy Foley has hired without any experience as a program leader, joining Mary Wise (volleyball), Mike Holloway (track & field), Emily Glaser (women's golf), Kevin O'Sullivan (baseball) and Will Muschamp (football). Holloway (5) and Faehn (2) have combined to win seven team national titles for the Gators, while three of the other four coaches (Wise, O'Sullivan, Muschamp) have all seen their programs finish in the top-four nationally in their respective sports. Deacon is the 15th men's golf coach in school history and must try to live up to the standard set by the accomplished Alexander, a three-time GCCA National Coach of the Year and eight-time SEC Coach of the Year who won two national titles (1993, 2001) and eight SEC crowns (1989, 1991-94, 1999, 2003, 2011) at Florida.
Redshirt sophomore guard Dillon Graham on Friday tweeted that he has "finally [been] cleared" by team doctors after missing most of last season following surgery to repair bone spurs in his hips. Graham is likely cleared for non-contact activity at this time as head coach Billy Donovan, who is currently in Colorado working with the USA Basketball under-18 team, said less than a month ago that Graham will not be cleared for contact until August or September. "He's missed a whole entire year of development and now you're talking about an entire summer and into the fall with out it," explained Donovan while questioning how much Graham will be able to contribute in 2014-15.
Speaking at a football camp in Detroit, Michigan, over the weekend, Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer once again claimed that his 2008 Gators were the best team in the history of college football. "I've been a part of a couple great teams," he said. "I think the best team that's ever played the game [was] in '08." Meyer said those Florida players had "animal instincts" that "took over on the field" and that the players "protected each other" and acted like wild animals (in a positive way, of course). Meyer was discussing lessons he learned from the military about teamwork and how it is more important to operate as a team than succeed as an individual.