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Saturday, October 16, 2021

March 3, 1974: Gainesville is hit hard by the national energy crisis, despite news that the problem is abating.

Cars wait in huge lines for gas on Saturday, and by Sunday only Charter Oil, at 405 NW 13th St., is open for business.

Owner Ed Griffin said he didn’t know how he managed to store enough gas to stay open on a Sunday. He  expects local stations to return to taking the weekends off by mid-March.

March 4, 1977: Gators basketball coach John Lotz is named United Press International’s  SEC Coach of the Year after helping turn a losing team into a winner mid-season.

After going 12-14 the season before, the Gators will go on to post a record of 17-9. Prior to this season, the last time the Gators surpassed 15 wins came during the 1968-69 season when the team went 18-9 under coach Tommy Bartlett.

“Lotz teaches us to play together, and he’s a good motivator,” said center Larry Brewster. “His philosophy is team play, not star play. He tries to keep it a team.”

March 1, 1990: Ben Hill Griffin Jr., the namesake for UF’s football stadium, dies in his own home from a blood disease at 79.

Though he never actually graduated from UF, he became the university’s largest financial benefactor, giving $10 million, including $1.7 million to expand the weight room for UF athletes, $2 million to renovate Floyd Hall and another $2 million for the Health Science Center’s academic research building.

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