2009 FLORIDA GATORS GYMNASTICS
The University of Florida has a tradition of excellence in nearly every sport in which it competes, and women's gymnastics is certainly no exception to this rule. The Florida women's gymnastics is truly an elite program that has competed at a high level since its inception, and has been at or near the top of the SEC standings nearly every season.
Six different coaches have led the University of Florida women's gymnastics team since the team began competition back in 1972-1973. Those coaches include Linda Bittner, who coached the team in its inaugural season in 1972, and Sandy Phillips, who coached the team from 1973-1975, and then, after a one year absence, returned to coach the team from 1977-1979. During the year that Phillips was away from the program, Kay Hury coached in her place. Ernestine Weaver then took the reins from Phillips, and began a 12 year run that represented the longest tenured coach in Florida gymnastics history, a run that ended in 1992. Following Weaver's departure, Judi Markell led the team from 1993-2002, to be followed by Rhonda Faehn who has coached the team since 2003.
One thing that is certain. Regardless of who has coached the team, it has performed, and performed well.
The early seasons of Gator gymnastics under coach Phillips showed early on that this program would be one to be reckoned with. After a 2-2 abbreviated opening season in 1973, the team then had a 2 year period in which it didn't lose a game, going a combined 14-0 over the 2 seasons. And then, with the ramping up of the schedule to include more matches and more challenging matches, the team continued to perform at a high level, going 25-4 in 1976 and 1977 combined.
The team then experienced a pair if disappointing seasons in a row, which led to the arrival of Weaver, who began her run in 1980. Florida gymnastics squads under Weaver then went on to post a series of season after season of superior play and performance through the early 80's, mid 80's, straight through to her final seasons in the 1990's. Some highlights of the Weaver era had to be the team's 1983 season, during which Florida went a remarkable 16-0 en route to the NCAA championships, where the team placed 5th, as well as the 1985 season, another one in which the team had a perfect regular season record, 17-0, en route to the NCAA champion ships, where the team finished 3rd.
Following the departure of Weaver following the 1992 season, the team found itself at a bit of a crossroads under new head coach Judi Markell. It seemed almost as if the program took a slight step back for a few years. The team was still good, but not great, posting records such as 10-8, 10-7, and 9-7 in the first 3 seasons under Markell. But the slow period did not last long. By the late 90's, Markell had the team performing at its typical top of the conference levels.
Coach Rhonda Faehn has continued the winning tradition at Florida that was started by her predecessors, with consistently strong seasons, all of which ending with NCAA championship tournament appearances. Most recently, Faehn led Florida to a 20 win regular season without a loss, finishing the season 21-0-1 on the season in 2007.
What do you think?
We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.
From 2009 Florida Gators Gymnastics to SEC Gymnastics | SEC Sports Blog | SEC Football | SEC Football Blog | SEC Basketball | SEC Women's Basketball | SEC Baseball | SEC Track and Field | SEC Swimming and Diving | SEC Tennis | SEC Golf | SEC Soccer | SEC Softball | SEC Volleyball | Best College Sports Conference | College Football Bowl History | BCS Controversy | SEC vs Big Ten Debate | SEC Sports News | Current SEC Sports News | SEC Sports Pictures and Videos | SEC Sports Fan Forum | College Sports Blogs | College Football Association | SEC Sports Fan Trips | College Sports Gift | Fathead | College Sports Tailgate Party Shop | College Sports Merchandise | College Sports Apparel | SEC Sports Fan Store | SEC Football Tickets |