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Florida Gators
AmericanFootball current event.svg 2019 Florida Gators
Florida Gators NCAA-SEC-Florida Gators Helmet
First season 1906
Athletic director Scott Stricklin
Head coach Dan Mullen
2nd year, 17–4 (.810)
Home stadium Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Stadium capacity 88,548
Stadium surface Grass
Location Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Conference SEC (1932– )
Division SEC Eastern Division
(1992– )
All-time history
Florida Gators Historical Teams
1906 1907 1908 1909
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
All-time record 731–419–40 (.610)
Postseason bowl record 23–21 (.523)
Claimed national titles 3 Claimed (1996, 2006, 2008), 2 Unclaimed (1984, 1985)
Conference titles 8 (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008)
Heisman winners 3: (Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Tebow)
Consensus All-Americans 31[1]
Current uniform
NCAA-SEC-Florida Gators Jerseys
Colors Orange and Blue

             


Fight song "The Orange and Blue"
Mascot Albert and Alberta Gator
Marching band Pride of the Sunshine
Rivals Florida State Seminoles
Georgia Bulldogs
Tennessee Volunteers
LSU Tigers
Auburn Tigers
Miami Hurricanes
Website GatorZone.com
The Florida Gators Football team is a member of the NCAA FBS Southeastern Conference; the team represents the University of Florida in the sport of American football, playing their home games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators, as of the 2019 NCAA season, are currently coached by Dan Mullen. The Gators have won three national championships and eight SEC titles in the 106-season history of their varsity football program.

Overview Edit

The University of Florida (then known as the "University of the State of Florida") first fielded an official varsity football team in the fall of 1906, when the newly consolidated university moved to its new campus in Gainesville. Since then, the Gators football program has evolved from its very humble origins, and has achieved notable successes. The Gators have played in thirty-nine bowl games; won three national championships (1996, 2006, and 2008), and eight Southeastern Conference championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008); and produced eighty-two first-team All-Americans, forty-two National Football League (NFL) first-round draft choices, and three Heisman Trophy winners. Since 1990, the Gators have won more games (217) than any other college football team in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as "Division I-A").[2]

The Gators have played their home games in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field located on the university's campus since 1930. The stadium was first known as Florida Field, but the name was changed in 1989 to honor Ben Hill Griffin, an alumnus of the university and a major benefactor of its Florida Gators sports programs. Since the 1990s, the stadium has also been widely known by its nickname: "the Swamp."

Since 1906, twenty-three different men have served as the head coach of the Florida Gators, including three who were later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for their coaching success. The 2011 season was the Gators' first under current head coach Will Muschamp.

The University of Florida was one of the founding members of the Southeastern Conference in December 1932, and it is one of the twelve current members of the SEC. Since the SEC expanded from ten to twelve universities in 1992, and instituted divisional play in football, the Florida Gators football team has competed in the SEC Eastern Division.

Florida plays an eight-game SEC football schedule. Five of these contests pit the Gators against the other members of the SEC Eastern Division: Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. The conference schedule is filled out with an annual game against LSU and two additional foes from the SEC Western Division on a rotating basis. (Until 2003, the Gators also played Auburn every season with only one Western Division team in rotation.)

Key conference rivalries include the Florida–Georgia game in which Florida and Georgia play annually in Jacksonville, Florida (usually around Halloween), the Florida–Tennessee rivalry (usually in mid-September), and the inter-divisional Florida–LSU rivalry with their permanent SEC Western Division foe, LSU (in early to mid-October).

In addition to the conference foes, the Gators face in-state rival Florida State at the end of the regular season. The two teams' emergence as perennial football powers in the 1980s and 1990s helped build the Florida–Florida State rivalry into a game that has often held national title implications. Before 1988, in-state rival Miami (FL) was also an annual opponent, but due to expanded conference schedules, the Florida–Miami rivalry has been renewed only three times in the regular season and twice in bowl games since 1988. The remaining dates on Florida's regular season schedule are filled with various non-conference opponents that vary from year to year.

History Edit

Origins Edit

The modern University of Florida was created in 1905 when the Florida Legislature enacted the Buckman Act, which abolished all of the State of Florida's existing publicly-supported institutions of higher learning and consolidated the academic programs of four of them in the new "University of the State of Florida," a land-grant university for white men.

Two of the new university's predecessor institutions fielded football teams before 1905: the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, and the Florida Agricultural College (later renamed the University of Florida at Lake City). Both institutions had football teams in the late 1890s and early 1900s, and actually played each other in 1903.[3] On November 22, 1901, Florida Agricultural College and the private Stetson College (now Stetson University) assembled teams for a match in Jacksonville that would be Florida's first known intercollegiate football game. This game sparked considerable interest in intercollegiate football in the state, and as a result several other colleges organized teams of their own, including the East Florida Seminary and Florida State College (now Florida State University).[4] Florida State College (FSC) fielded a successful team from 1902 to 1904; after FSC was reorganized by the Buckman Act as the new college for white women in 1905, the Florida State College football team was discontinued. However, of all the players from these earlier teams, only tackle William Gibbs of the 1905 Lake City team made the transition to the new university's team in Gainesville in 1906.[5]

New university, humble beginnings: 1906–1919 Edit

File:Gators1907.jpg

In 1905, the Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act, which reorganized the state's entire system of higher education. As a result, the former University of Florida at Lake City (which had been known as "Florida Agricultural College" until 1903) and the East Florida Seminary were merged with two other institutions to create the new University of the State of Florida for white male students. The university operated for one school year (1905–1906) in Lake City, Florida, while the first buildings were constructed on the new campus in Gainesville.

The as-yet un-nicknamed state university football team began varsity play when the new Gainesville campus opened in September 1906. The first football coach was Jack Forsythe, who had previously coached the Florida State College football team before the Buckman Act reorganization.[6] Forsythe led the new Florida team for three winning seasons, including a 6–0 win over the Rollins College Tars in their first game. The official name of the new university was shortened to the "University of Florida" in 1909, and George Pyle became the new head coach of the 1909 Florida football team. Some time during these early years, the Florida sports teams adopted their orange and blue team colors, purportedly representing a combination of the blue and white of the old Florida Agricultural College and the orange and black of the old East Florida Seminary, two of the university's predecessor institutions.[7]

The 1910s saw the team face many of their current rivals and regular opponents for the first time. The newly-named Gators met the South Carolina Gamecocks for the first time and played the Gamecocks to a 6–6 tie in 1911. The 1911 Gators went on to defeat The Citadel, Clemson and the College of Charleston, declared themselves to be the "champions of South Carolina," and finished their season 5–0–1—the only undefeated football season in the Gators' history. When the 1912 Gators joined the now-defunct Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) in time for the 1912 season, they faced the Auburn Tigers in the teams' first contest; the 1915 Gators played the Georgia Bulldogs for the first time; and the 1916 Gators met the 1916 Alabama Crimson Tide in their first game.

The Roaring Twenties: 1920–1929 Edit

The 1922 Gators joined the Southern Conference, following their regional rivals' departure from the SIAA a year earlier. Major James Van Fleet[8] coached the 1923 and 1924 teams to their first taste of national notoriety, finishing 6–1–2 and 6–2–2.[9] The 1923 Gators shocked the heavily favored 1923 Alabama Crimson Tide 16–6 in one of the biggest upsets of the year.[9] The 1924 Gators tied powerhouses Georgia Tech and Texas.[10] Led by new head coach Harold Sebring,[11] the 1925 Gators finished 8–2,[12] and All-Southern back Edgar Jones scored 108 points, setting the team record for most points scored in a season—a record that would stand for another forty-four years.[10][13] Other Gators greats from this era included Carl "Tootie" Perry, the Gators' center and first All-Southern selection in 1920 and 1921, and halfback Ark Newton and lineman Max "Goldie" Goldstein, who were both among the first Gators to play professional football.

Coach Charlie Bachman led the Gators to greater national recognition. Bachman had attended Notre Dame from 1914 to 1916, where he was an All-American guard for the Fighting Irish football team in 1916, and, in 1918, had also played for the legendary Great Lakes Naval Station football team. Bachman's 1928 and 1929 Gators squads finished 8–1 and 8–2, respectively,[14] and represented the Gators' highest season win totals for thirty-two years. Led by the "Phantom Four" backfield of Carl Brumbaugh, Rainey Cawthon, Clyde Crabtree and Royce Goodbread, the 1928 Gators set a new national scoring record of 336 points. The 1928 team also produced the Gators' first-ever first-team All-American, end Dale Van Sickel, who later became Florida's first member of the College Football Hall of Fame, inducted in 1975.[15] The 1928 Gators' sole loss was to the Tennessee Volunteers, 12–13, in the final game of the season. In 1929, the Gators defeated the Oregon Webfoots 20–6 before 20,000 fans in the first game at Miami's Madison Square Garden Stadium.[16]

Depression, war and football: 1930–1949 Edit

The University of Florida joined the new Southeastern Conference (SEC) in December 1932, along with twelve other former member universities from the Southern Conference, including Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Sewanee, Tennessee, Tulane and Vanderbilt. University of Florida president John J. Tigert, a former All-Southern halfback on the Vanderbilt football teams of 1901–1903, was instrumental in the organization of the new conference and served four separate terms as the SEC president. Tigert was also responsible for the construction of the Gators' first and only permanent stadium, Florida Field, in 1930.

Gator alumnus Dutch Stanley replaced Bachman as coach in 1933, the first SEC football season. Stanley, who was only 26 years old, had been a stand-out end on the great 1928 Gators team. He brought an all-Gator-alumni coaching staff to the program, and the Gators experienced a brief two-year revival after two consecutive losing seasons under Bachman in 1931 and 1932. Stanley's Gators posted 5–3–1 and 6–3–1 records in 1933 and 1934, but faltered with a 3–7 tally in 1935.

The 1930s and 1940s were generally not kind to the Gators. After posting a six-win season in 1934, Florida did not win more than five games in a season until 1952.

Dutch Stanley resigned under fan pressure following the 1935 season, and was replaced by Josh Cody as head coach. Cody was a former star tackle for Dan McGugin's great Vanderbilt teams of 1915, 1916 and 1919, and was the only three-time All-American in the history of Commodores football. Cody had previously coached the Clemson Tigers team to a 29–11–1 record from 1927 to 1930, but had returned to his alma mater to be the head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores basketball team and serve as an assistant football coach under the legendary McGugin. Perhaps Cody's finest moment as the Gators' head coach was the team's 7–0 upset of the second-ranked Boston College Eagles in Boston in 1939. In four seasons, however, Cody recorded a 17–24–2 tally. Once again, a coach who showed great promise on paper was not able to lead the Gators from the football wilderness, and Cody left Gainesville to accept an assistant coach position at Temple University.

Tom Lieb replaced Josh Cody as coach in 1940. Lieb was a former Notre Dame All-American, and later became Knute Rockne's protege assistant at Notre Dame. Notably, he was also a bronze medalist in the discus throw in the 1924 Summer Olympics. Lieb had been the de facto head coach during the Irish's 1929 national championship season, while Rockne spent most of the season recovering from illness. Despite fans' early hopes for Lieb's "Notre Dame system," however, the Gators posted a disappointing 20–26–1 record in five seasons. Lieb's best season was probably his first in 1940, as the Gators celebrated victories over Georgia, Georgia Tech and Miami. The Gators also honored their second first-team All-American, end Fergie Ferguson, in 1941.[10] The World War II years of 1942 to 1945 witnessed the withdrawal of most of the university's able-bodied students, followed by their enlistment in the U.S. military. Florida did not field a team for lack of available players in 1943.

Returning war veterans arrived in force on the Gainesville campus in the fall of 1946, and Bear Wolf, the pre-war head coach of North Carolina, replaced Lieb as head coach. Unfortunately, the Gators football program slid even further under Wolf, posting a 13–24–2 record in four seasons. The first season for Wolf was disastrous: the 1946 Gators finished 0–9—the worst football season in Gators history. Wolf's Gators never had a winning season, but there were bright spots. The iconic cheerleader, Mr. Two Bits, attended his first home game during the 1946 season, and began his personal sixty-year tradition of leading Gators fans in the "two bits" cheer at Florida Field. Gators running back Chuck Hunsinger rushed for 2,017 yards in 1948 and 1949. Hunsinger ran for 174 yards and three touchdowns against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Gators' 28–7 victory in November 1949, but Wolf's contract was not renewed after the 1949 season. Gators veterans of Wolf's tenure ironically dubbed it the "Golden Era."

Woodruff era: 1950–1959 Edit

The Gators achieved a measure of respectability under coach Bob Woodruff during the 1950s. Woodruff was an eccentric who was a master of X's and O's and employed unusual methods to train and motivate his players. As a former Tennessee Volunteers football player and a disciple of legendary Volunteers coach Robert Neyland, Woodruff emphasized defense, field position and the kicking game to the exclusion of a more wide-open offensive scheme. The Gators peaked under Woodruff during the 1952 season, when they posted an 8–3 record, received their first official post-season bowl invitation, and defeated the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 14–13 in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day 1953. The 1952 Gators also produced Florida's third first-team All-American, tackle Charlie LaPradd, one of the two team captains.[17] Woodruff never again equaled the success of his 1952 Gators team, but his ten-year tenure as coach was notable for a 6–4 record against the rival Georgia Bulldogs, four Associated Press final football poll top-twenty rankings, and the fact that only two of his ten Gators teams finished with losing records. Woodruff finished his Gators career with a combined record of 53–42–6.

File:Steve Spurrier QB11.jpg

Graves era: 1960–1969 Edit

Florida achieved its first consistent success in the 1960s, when Ray Graves coached the team to three nine-win seasons and a total of seventy victories,[18] a Florida record that stood for twenty-seven years.[19] Graves led his Gators to a series of "firsts," including the Gators' first nine-win season in 1960, and their first Sugar Bowl appearance on New Year's Day 1966 (an 18–20 loss). Graves fielded one of his best teams in 1966, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier;[20] the 1966 team finished 9–2 and defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Orange Bowl, the team's first major bowl win.[21] During this same time, Dr. Robert Cade and other University of Florida medical researchers developed the popular sports drink Gatorade and tested it on the Gators football team under the consistently extreme conditions of heat and humidity under which the team played. Gatorade was a success, and the Gators developed a reputation as a "second-half team." Graves' final season in 1969 is remembered for the group of young stars known as the "Super Sophs," including quarterback John Reaves and All-American wide receiver Carlos Alvarez, fullback Tommy Durrance's single-season scoring record of 110 points,[22] an all-time best record of 9–1–1, and a 14–13 Gator Bowl victory over the SEC champion Tennessee.[21] As dramatic evidence of the program-building progress made under Graves, the Gators produced three times the number of first-team All-Americans during the 1960s as they had in all of the previous fifty-four seasons of the team's existence.[10][23] Ray Graves' career record as the Gators' head coach was 70–31–4.[18]

Dickey era: 1970–1978 Edit

Florida alumnus and former Gators quarterback Doug Dickey took over the reins in 1970. Dickey had been the head coach of Tennessee for the preceding six seasons, where he had won the SEC championship twice and led the Volunteers to five straight bowl appearances.[24] Dickey's Gators peaked in 1974, with an 8–4 season and a Sugar Bowl appearance (a 13–10 loss).[24] He was never able to duplicate his prior success at Tennessee, posting a 58–43–2 record over nine seasons with the Gators, and he resigned after a 4–7 season in 1978.[24]

One of the more colorful moments of the Dickey era was a play known as the "Gator Flop." In the final game of the 1971 regular season, the Gators led the rival Miami Hurricanes 45–8 with less than two minutes on the clock.[25] Victory was assured, but Florida's senior quarterback, John Reaves, needed fourteen yards to break Jim Plunkett's NCAA record for career passing yardage and Miami had the ball.[25] Several of Florida's defensive players convinced Dickey that the only way for Reaves to set the mark would be for Miami to score quickly.[26] Dickey refused twice before he acquiesced.[27] So, with the Hurricanes near the Florida endzone, the entire Gator defense except one player fell to the ground, allowing Miami to easily score a touchdown.[28] Florida's offense then got the ball back and Reaves completed a fifteen-yard pass to Carlos Alvarez to break the record.[26] After the final whistle, jubilant Florida players jumped into a large tank behind the Orange Bowl endzone usually used by the Miami Dolphins' mascot, "Flipper," and an angry Miami coach Fran Curci refused to shake hands with Dickey.[27]

Pell-Hall era: 1979–1989 Edit

Charley Pell became the Gators' head coach in 1979, and brought the Gators respectability on the field, and scandal and disgrace off it. Though he began his career with an 0–10–1 season in 1979, the Gators posted a then-NCAA-record turn-around with an 8–3 season in 1980. Pell went 33–15 after the winless opening season, but he was fired by university president Marshall Criser during the 1984 season after Pell and his staff were charged with 107 NCAA major infractions. Offensive coordinator Galen Hall replaced Pell after the third game of the season,[29] and rallied his players after a 1–1–1 start to win eight straight games to finish 9–1–1.

Prior to the 1990s, the 1984 team was considered by many sports commentators to be the finest Gators squad ever. The offense was especially potent behind an offensive line dubbed "The Great Wall of Florida" (Phil Bromley, Lomas Brown, Billy Hinson, Crawford Ker, Scott Trimble and Jeff Zimmerman) that paved the way for John L. Williams and Neal Anderson to run the ball and for freshman quarterback Kerwin Bell to lead the team to its first-ever SEC football championship. Several polls ranked the Gators as the best team in the nation after the conclusion of the 1984 season, but the team was ineligible for a bowl game because of the newly-imposed NCAA probation. To the shock and dismay of the team and fans, the SEC university presidents voted to retroactively vacate the Gators' 1984 championship in the spring of 1985.

Galen Hall coached the team from the fourth game of 1984 until 1989, and matched the 9–1–1 record in 1984 with another 9–1–1 season in 1985. Again, the 1985 Gators posted the best record in the SEC, but were ineligible for the conference title because of the NCAA probation imposed in 1984. Arguably, the greatest individual player of Hall's tenure was All-American running back Emmitt Smith, who set numerous Gators rushing records from 1987 to 1989. Unfortunately, Hall had his own NCAA infractions scandal, primarily involving paying his assistant coaches from his own pocket and allegedly paying the child support-related legal expenses of one of his players,[30] and he was asked to resign by university president Robert A. Bryan during the 1989 season.[31] Hall ended his career with a 40–18 record at Florida, and interim head coach Gary Darnell finished the 1989 season.

Spurrier era: 1990–2001 Edit

Despite their prior successes, the Gators had never been considered a national power, having never officially won a conference championship in eighty-three seasons of play. Things changed in 1990: Steve Spurrier returned to Gainesville as the Gators' Head Ball Coach. In the debut game of Spurrier's Gators, they blew past Oklahoma State 50–7. In their second game, they came from behind to beat the Alabama Crimson Tide 17–13 in Tuscaloosa. Since Spurrier's return in 1990, the Gators football team has been the winningest Division I (FBS) program.[2]

In Spurrier's first season, the Gators finished first in the SEC for the third time ever, but were again ineligible for the SEC title because of lingering NCAA probation. They won their first official SEC championship in 1991, fifty-nine seasons after joining the SEC as a charter member. The Gators played for the conference championship in the first-ever SEC Championship Game in 1992, but lost 28–21 to the eventual national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. Spurrier's Gators rebounded, however, and won the next four SEC Championship Games (1993–1996), leading Spurrier to quip as the Gators posed for their championship photo that "this is our annual team picture."[32] Spurrier also became the Gators' all-time winningest coach in 1996, surpassing Ray Graves' seventy career wins as Florida coach.

Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

The Gators in their home, The Swamp

Urban Meyer

Former Head coach Urban Meyer (pictured) and the Gators celebrated 100 years of Florida Football with a BCS Championship in 2006.

The Gators had their first unbeaten and untied regular season in 1995, but were denied a national championship in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl, losing to the Nebraska Cornhuskers 62–24.

Most of the Gators' offense returned in 1996, and would end up setting dozens of UF's scoring records, as they rolled over most of their opponents to start the season 10–0. The top-ranked Gators faced the second-ranked and also undefeated Florida State Seminoles in Doak Campbell Stadium. Keyed by several blocking errors on offense and special teams, the Gators fell seriously behind in the first quarter, nearly rallying to win, but fell short, and left Tallahassee with a disappointing 24–21 loss. But the pieces fell into place for Florida, as they beat the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game, 45–30, and Texas upset Nebraska in the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game to clear the path for fourth-ranked Florida to become the best available opponent for the Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl. To have a shot at a national title, the Gators needed Ohio State to beat second-ranked Arizona State in the Rose Bowl, which they did on the final play of the game, thus setting up the Sugar Bowl as the national championship game. The Gators seized the opportunity, as Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel garnered game MVP honors in a 52–20 rout of the Seminoles.

The following season, the 1997 Gators looked like they would reload for another title, beating highly-ranked Tennessee at home in September to regain the top spot in the polls. But the team struggled midway through their schedule, losing to LSU Tigers on the road and the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, after dominating both teams the previous year. The Gators finished the season in The Swamp, as the tenth-ranked Gators upset their rivals, the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles, in a 32–29 thriller that featured two last-minute lead changes.

Having won five SEC titles in six seasons from 1991 to 1996, the Gators had trouble keeping pace with their amazing run in the conference later in the decade,[33] going three seasons before capturing the title again in 2000.[34] The Gators appeared ready to return to the SEC Championship Game as favorites in 2001, but lost a 34–32 heartbreaker to the Tennessee Volunteers in a game postponed until December 1 due to the attacks of 9/11.[35]

Zook era: 2002–2004 Edit

On January 2, 2002, Steve Spurrier resigned as the head coach of the Gators, and ten days later became the head coach of the National Football League's Washington Redskins. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley initiated a coaching search that focused on Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan[36] and the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, Bob Stoops. After being turned down by both, Foley decided on former Gator assistant coach Ron Zook as Spurrier's replacement.

Zook showed himself to be a strong recruiter, signing the twentieth-ranked class in an abbreviated 2002 search,[37] the second-ranked class in 2003,[38] and the seventh-ranked class in 2004.[39] Although talented, Zook's teams were remembered for their inconsistency, typically dominating their opponents in the first half, then collapsing in the second.[40] They dealt the Georgia Bulldogs their only loss of 2002, and upset the LSU Tigers on their way to the BCS Championship, but went winless against both of the SEC's Mississippi teams, and lost twice to the Miami Hurricanes.

After two consecutive five-loss seasons and an embarrassing upset by the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Zook was fired midway through the 2004 season, but was allowed to finish out the regular season. In Zook's final game, the Gators beat Florida State to give them their first win at Doak Campbell Stadium since 1986. Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong served as the interim head coach for the Peach Bowl against Miami, becoming the first African-American to serve as the head football coach at Florida and the second in SEC history.

Athletic director Jeremy Foley again set out to find a new head coach for the Gators. With the benefit of an extra month to work with, he targeted a much higher profile replacement for Zook—the 2004 Sporting News Coach of the Year, Urban Meyer, the head coach of Utah. After a period of intense competition against Notre Dame for his services, Meyer chose to accept the position at the University of Florida.[41]

Meyer era: 2005–2010 Edit

Urban Meyer was announced as Florida Football's new head coach in December 2004. His first season in 2005 was an improvement at 9–3, including an Outback Bowl win against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Although the Gators managed to defeat all three of their biggest rivals (Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida State) for only the fourth time in school history, they missed out on a chance to play in the SEC title game after a late-season upset loss to Spurrier's new team, South Carolina.

In 2006, the Gators completed a 13–1 season during which their sole loss was to the Auburn Tigers 17–27. In their final regular season SEC game, the Gators' managed a slender 17–16 victory when Jarvis Moss blocked a fourth quarter field goal by the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gators defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks in the SEC Championship Game, winning their first SEC title since 2000. The Gators played in the 2007 BCS Championship Game on January 8, 2007, and, led by quarterback Chris Leak, beat the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 41–14, for the Gators' second national football championship. The Gators played the nation's toughest schedule in 2006.[42]

Tim Tebow became the full-time starting quarterback for the 2007 season. The Gators started the season 4–0 and were ranked as high as Number 3 in the various media polls. However, a midseason stretch in which the team lost three of four games to conference foes ended any hopes of a repeat national championship.

While the Gators finished with a relatively disappointing 9–4 record and Number 13 final ranking, Tim Tebow's record-setting season earned him many post-season awards, including the Heisman Trophy. Tebow was the first sophomore to receive the Heisman.

File:Florida Gators football team at the White House 4-23-09 2.JPG

Logos,Helmets/UniformsEdit

Image galleryEdit

Recent SeasonsEdit

Notable AlumniEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. NCAA Football Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, pp. 7–13 (2011). Retrieved March 7, 2012. The NCAA records for "consensus" All-Americans do not reflect the total number of All-American honors received by Gators football players, only those players who received a majority of the various first-team All-American selections at their position in any given season. The Gators' first consensus All-American was quarterback Steve Spurrier in 1966; the thirty-first and most recent was punter Chas Henry in 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stassen.com, I-A Winning Percentage 1990–2011 (22 years). Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  3. McEwen, Tom, The Gators: A Story of Florida Football, The Strode Publishers, Huntsville, Alabama, p. 363 (1974).
  4. Ric A. Kabat, "Before the Seminoles: Football at Florida State College, 1902–1904, Florida Historical Quarterly, vol. LXX, no. 1, p. 33 (July 1991). Retrieved November 30, 2010.
  5. McEwen, The Gators, p. 37.
  6. Kabat, p. 34.
  7. For partial football records of Florida Agricultural College and the East Florida Seminary, please see College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Agriculture College Records by Year and East Florida Seminary Records by Year. Retrieved August 21, 2009.
  8. Van Fleet was an active duty U.S. Army officer who was also the senior officer of the university's Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. As a regimental commander, he participated in the D-Day landings in Normandy, France during World War II, and later became a division and corps commander under General George Patton. During the Korean War, Van Fleet commanded the U.S. Eighth Army, following Douglas MacArthur and Matthew Ridgway. He retired as a four-star general in 1953.
  9. 9.0 9.1 College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results: 1920–1924. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 89–95, 116–126, 129–130, 131–132, 152 (2011). Retrieved March 11, 2012.
  11. Sebring was a student at the University of Florida College of Law while serving as the Gators' coach. He later was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court.
  12. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results: 1925–1929. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  13. Edgar Jones' set the school record for most points in a single season during a nine-game season, and the record stood until 1969 when sophomore fullback Tommy Durrance broke it by scoring 110 points during an eleven-game season.
  14. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results: 1925–1929. Retrieved August 20, 2009.
  15. College Football Hall of Fame, Hall of Famers, Dale Van Sickel. Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  16. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=c8wmAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ggIGAAAAIBAJ&pg=820,1695552&dq=florida+oregon+20-6&hl=en
  17. Associated Press, "LaPradd Is Thrilled By His Selection to All America," Daytona Beach Morning Journal, p. 7 (December 6, 1952). Retrieved March 21, 2010. Note the article mistakenly states that LaPradd was the Gators' second first-team All-American, when, in fact, he was the third.
  18. 18.0 18.1 College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Ray Graves Records by Year. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  19. Steve Spurrier led the Gators to seventy-three wins from 1990 to 1996, and ultimately won a total of 122 games as the Gators' head coach from 1990 to 2001. College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Steve Spurrier Records by Year. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  20. Heisman.com, Heisman Winners, 1966--32nd Award: Steve Spurrier. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  21. 21.0 21.1 College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results: 1965–1969. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  22. For an account of Durrance's record-breaking season, see Franz Beard, "Tommy Durrance: A Great Gator, A Better Man," Gator Country.com (July 22, 2005). Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  23. Coach Ray Graves' Gators football teams of the 1960s produced fifteen first-team All-Americans. From 1906 to 1959, the Gators only had five players who received first-team All-American honors.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Doug Dickey Records by Year. Retrieved August 22, 2009.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Mick Elliott, "Meyer Isn't Looking Back at History of Florida-Miami Rivalry," The Tampa Tribune (September 2, 2008). Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Joanne Korth, "Florida-Miami: a rivalry revisited," St. Petersburg Times (December 28, 2000). Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Jack Hairston, Tales from the Gator Swamp, Sports Publishing, LLC, Champaign, Illinois, pp. 84–90 (2002).
  28. "Orange Bowl's 30 most memorable games," ESPN (November 9, 2007). Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  29. Jack McCallum, "Gatorgate May Be The Real Gatoraid," Sports Illustrated (November 19, 1984). Retrieved March 20, 2010.
  30. "Dishing out the discipline:SEC," ESPN.com (November 26, 2002). Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  31. "UF ousts Coach Galen Hall amid new NCAA violations," Gainesville Sun, p. 1 (October 9, 1989). Retrieved August 15, 2009.
  32. Greg Auman & Keith Niebuhr, "Spurrierisms," St. Petersburg Times (January 8, 2002). Retrieved September 22, 2009.
  33. College Football Data Warehouse, Florida Yearly Results 1995–1999. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  34. College Football Data Warehouse, Steve Spurrier Records by Year: 2000. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  35. College Football Data Warehouse, Steve Spurrier Records by Year: 2001. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  36. "Florida Sets Its Sights on Broncos' Shanahan," The Washington Post, p. D6 (January 8, 2002). Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  37. Rivals.com, Football Recruiting, 2002 Team Rankings. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  38. Rivals.com, Football Recruiting, 2003 Team Rankings. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  39. Rivals.com, Football Recruiting, 2004 Team Rankings. Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  40. ESPN News Services, "With Zook out, will Spurrier get a call?" ESPN.com (October 26, 2004}. Retrieved September 8, 2009.
  41. Doug Alden, "Urban Meyer jilts Notre Dame, heads for Florida," USA Today (December 23, 2004). Retrieved March 23, 2010.
  42. Toughest Schedule: (Teams with at least 9 Inter-Division games) Sorted on Cumulative Opposition (2007-01-10). Retrieved on 2009-01-16.

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