Mike Holloway is no stranger to success. Holloway, a UF graduate, has been involved with the Florida track and field team for 21 years.
After starting out as an assistant, he took over as head coach of the men in 2003 and head coach of the women in 2008,
Since taking on the responsibility of coaching both teams nine years ago, he has racked up six national titles.
But before the Gators can compete on the national level once again this year, the team must make it through the upcoming SEC Outdoor Championships. The three-day competition, held in Columbia, South Carolina, kicks off today and will wrap up on Saturday.
Under Holloway’s leadership, the men’s and women’s teams have combined for eight SEC titles (five indoor, three outdoor) over the past nine seasons.
Florida will look to improve on a disappointing performance in last year’s conference championship, where it left Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with mediocre results. The men’s team finished in sixth place, while the women’s team finished in seventh.
If the team wants to redeem itself this year, it will probably look to jumper KeAndre Bates. Bates is currently on the Bowerman Watch List, an award designated to the country’s best overall track and field athlete, and is the 13th Gator to make the list since it started in 2010.
The next closest college program is Texas A&M, which has had 10 different athletes make an appearance. Versatile hurdler, jumper and sprinter Grant Holloway has received votes for the list as well.
At the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational, Florida’s last home meet and regular season finale, Bates set an NCAA-best 16.7 meter triple jump (54-feet-9.5), while teammate TJ Holmes notched a nation-leading time of 49.19 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles.
The Gators hope to ride this momentum into the SEC Championships and throughout the rest of the postseason.
Following UF’s strong showing at its final regular season meet, Holloway said preparation would be the biggest key for his team to have success in Columbia.
“We just have to make sure we’re sharp mentally, physically and emotionally” he said in a release.
Contact Andrew Huang at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @AndrewJHuang.
UF coach Mike Holloway smiles as he talks with his team during the 2016 Florida Relays at Percy Beard Track.