UF football great John Reaves passed away in his Tampa home Tuesday at 67 years old.
Reaves is well known in the UF athletics world as the quarterback who led the football team to one of its greatest seasons of all-time with a 9-1-1 record. He was the leader of what was known as the “Super Sophs,” a group of top sophomore players on the 1969 Gators team, which included Carlos Alvarez and Tommy Durrance.
In his senior year, Reaves was named an All-American quarterback, and by the end of his career held the all-time record for NCAA passes, with 7,581 made in his college career as well as the record for most touchdown passes in the SEC.
After playing football at UF for three years, Reaves went on to be picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 1972 draft. He continued to play in the NFL for a total of nine years, during which he played for five different teams.
When his time in the NFL ended, Reaves went on to play for the Tampa Bay Bandits under then-head coach Steve Spurrier from 1983-1985. Spurrier told the AAC in a press release he was saddened to hear of Reaves’ passing and looked fondly upon him when he was on the team.
“He was a wonderful player to coach and a super teammate,” Spurrier said. “He was as good a pure, drop-back passer as I’ve ever coached.”
Later, in 1990, Reaves returned to UF as a football coach under the newly hired Spurrier. There he worked as an assistant coach until 1992 and then again in 1994, eventually leaving for good after being offered a job at the University of South Carolina.
“It’s sad to see that John has passed on, but we’ll celebrate his life down there in Tampa with so many good friends and Gators,” Spurrier said. “His memory will always be with us.”
According to Tampa Police Department Public Information Officer Eddy Durkin, Reaves was discovered by a family member lying on his bed unresponsive. The police received the report at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and determined there was no evidence of foul play.
“As a matter of routine, the Medical Examiner will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of death as the decedent was not under the direct care of a physician,” Durkin said.