Monday, the University of Florida F Club and Gator Boosters announced nine inductees into the 2020 Athletic Hall of Fame class. Among those nine, eight are players from six different sports, and one is a former head coach.
Breaking it down by sport, let’s meet the 2020 class of the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame.
Winning two national championships in three years will help get you into the Athletic Hall of Fame. The following three players are played integral roles in the 2006 and 2008 seasons where the Gators won an SEC championship and BCS national championship.
Many Gator fans consider quarterback Tim Tebow one of the greatest to ever don the Orange and Blue. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and three time Heisman Trophy finalist set the SEC on fire during his tenure in Gainesville. Tebow remains the only player in FBS history to pass for more than 30 touchdowns while also running for more than 20 (2007 season).
Brandon Spikes led a defense that stifled opponents for years. Spikes is a two-time first-team All-American and a three-time first-team All-SEC selection. Spikes holds the record for the most interceptions returned for touchdowns (4) in the history of Florida football.
Brandon James was the 2008 SEC Special Teams Player of the Year. He was a beast in the return game, amassing over 4,000 kickoff and punt return yards, the only player in SEC history to do so. James holds four SEC records including career kickoff return yardage (2,718 yards) and an additional Florida record for punt return yardage (1,371 yards).
The former return man recalls learning the news from Brandon Spikes.
The three players listed above all played from 2006 to 2009, meaning they all committed around the same time to one cause: winning.
Safe to say that collective commitment yielded success.
Andrew DeClercq started every game during his time in Gainesville; he holds the Florida record for most consecutive games started. DeClercq helped the Gators reach their first Final Four appearance in 1994; his 958 rebounds rank third in Gators history.
The only honorary letterman in the 2020 Athletic Hall of Fame Class is Billy Donovan, the former coach who led the Gators to two NCAA National Championships and four SEC Tournament championships. Donovan, who recently had the Gators’ home court named after him, coached the team to four Final Four appearances and three 30-win seasons. He coached 15 All-Americans and two SEC Players of the Year (Chandler Parsons in 2010-2011, and Scottie Wilbekin in 2013-2014).
Swimming and Diving
Gemma Spofforth (women’s, 2006-2010) led the Gators to a team national championship in 2010 and an SEC championship in 2009. Individually, Spofforth dominated. earning 25 All-American Honors during her tenure as well as winning seven individual NCAA championships. The two-time SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Year is also a two-time Olympian representing Great Britain in 2010 and 2012.
Shaune Fraser (men’s, 2006-2010) is a three-time NCAA Individual champion and a seven-time SEC Individual champion. Fraser finished his Florida career with 27 All-American honors. Like Spofforth, Fraser is a two-time Olympian (2004 and 2008) representing the Cayman Islands. Fraser also bore the flag during the opening ceremonies for the Cayman Islands in 2008.
Track and Field
Mariam Kevkhishvili (women’s, 2007-2010) tied the University of Florida’s record of five individual NCAA titles, all in shot put. The five-time individual SEC Champion is also a two-time SEC field athlete of the year (2009 indoors and 2010 outdoors). Her performance in shot put helped lead the Gators to an indoor national championship in 2009 and an outdoor national championship in 2010. Kevkhishvili is only the second woman in NCAA history to win consecutive indoor and outdoor NCAA titles in shot put.
You only get four years of eligibility in college, and Hamid Mirzadeh (men’s, 2001-2005) took advantage. Mirzadeh is a five-time All-America Honoree and four-time All-SEC First Team selection. He led the Gators to two SEC titles and an SEC Tournament championship as a senior in 2005. Mirzadeh also thrived in the classroom as a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member, and the 2004 SEC Men’s Tennis Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year.