Pat Dooley’s High Five (January 20th)

The High Five today takes a look at five key moments or days that things changed with Florida athletics. You probably have your own, but that is the pint of lists is to inspire differences of opinions.

At least that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it:

1. The day Tebow committed.

Looking back, it’s amazing how close Tim Tebow was to going to Alabama. But he chose Florida and started a run on five-stars coming to Gainesville. The four years were amazing with two national titles and the poster boy for college football.

2. The worst day ever.

It was for me anyway. I woke up that morning in a great mood, newly retired from the newspaper. Then Keyontae Johnson collapsed in Tallahassee. And that night, while we all were in a funk, a thrown shoe cost Florida a game against LSU. Neither program has been the same since that day.

3. The day Steve Spurrier beat Clemson.

I include this game because he has told me that if he doesn’t win that game in 1989 (Duke was 1-3 at the time), he doesn’t get offered the Florida job. He did win it and six more in a row after that to win the ACC. That cleared a path to what he was able to do in 12 wonderful years with the Gators.

4. When Abby Wambach showed up.

She was a big-time get for Becky Burleigh who already had put together a special team. What she needed was a player who was a difference maker both on offense and defense. Danielle Fotopoulos was the star of the team but Wambach was a big part of the 1998 national title.

5. The celebration that was more than that.

Everybody gathered on the O-Dome to celebrate the first ever national title after the 2005-06 season. What we didn’t expect was that the Oh-Fours would announce on stage that they would be coming back for their junior seasons. The Gator Boys would go on to win a second title, the last team to do that.

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