2015 was a year of success and heartbreak for the Florida Gator’s sport teams. For every moment that there were thrills and laughs, there were others filled with tears and regret. One thing rings true though, fans of the Gators will stand behind their teams regardless of what happens. Here are some of the best and heartbreaking moments in Gator sports in the 2015 season.
With a football program that seemed to be crumbling, the arrival of Coach Jim McElwain change everything. McElwain was brought in to help improve the Gator’s record, similar to the way that he improved Colorado State’s record in the three years he coached their team. Hired in 2012, Coach Jim brought the CSU team from a 4-8 record to a 10-2 record by 2014. He broke down the different cliques within the team and refocused their energy on playing as a team rather then playing for themselves. As a result of these coaching techniques, the team improved as the years passed.
Florida saw the potential of what he could bring out of a team and bought out his $7.5 million contract with CSU. At first his arrival generated a tepid reaction out of fans as they saw him as a snooze fest. However, he quickly changed their minds with an impressive 6 – 0 record in the beginning of the season. Seizing the opportunity to make changes within the program, McElwain executed everything that he could to push them forward. He devoted a space in the football complex so NFL scouts could sit in comfort, he scolded players when they needed it and banned swag on the field. Despite the changes though, the suspension of the quarterback and some lackluster performances, the Gators struggle to keep up their winning streak.
The suspension of Will Grier broke the hearts of many Gators fan this year. Will took an over the counter supplement without checking with the staff’s medical team first to see if it was okay to use. As a result of this oversight, the Gators quarterback tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and was suspended for a year. In a press conference soon after the announcement he had been suspended from playing, Grier stated that “I really hope that people can learn from this, learn from my mistake. I’m really sorry to everyone, just really sorry.” Since that time, Grier has decided to transfer from the University of Florida in a move that surprised many.
The football team wasn’t the only team that saw success in the 2015 season though. The Gators baseball team had their return to the College World Series in Omaha this year. The team, which is ranked 4th in their division, celebrated this milestone after they beat the Florida State Seminoles 11 – 4. This is the first time since 2012 that the Gators have made it to the College World Series, and the fourth time under head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. Ultimately the Gators were eliminated by Virginia Cavaliers, but the team will continue to strive for greatness in the next baseball season.
Finally, many of the non-revenue sports managed to claim a variety of titles as well. The women’s gymnastic team claimed their third National Title in a row. Freshman Alex McMurtry brought her team to victory after scoring a nearly perfect routine as the final competitor on the bars. They weren’t the only successful women’s team for Florida either. Combined with the various wins from both their men’s and women’s team the University of Florida was award the SEC All-Sports Trophy once again. It’s the 25th time the school has won it.
With such an impact on college sports, the Gators have a lot to live up to in the 2016 school year.