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Friday, December 03, 2021
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-9d25f069-2ae2-b816-488b-802542fab9b6"><span id="docs-internal-guid-9d25f069-2ae2-b816-488b-802542fab9b6">Mary Wise coached the UF volleyball team to the NCAA championship match last season. She was named AVCA National Coach of the Year for 2017 and claimed her 23rd SEC Championship with the program. </span></span></p>

Mary Wise coached the UF volleyball team to the NCAA championship match last season. She was named AVCA National Coach of the Year for 2017 and claimed her 23rd SEC Championship with the program. 

Several records were broken and milestones were achieved during the UF 2017-18 athletic season. We saw Caeleb Dressel torch several records, Chris Chiozza dazzle us with passes, Grant Holloway have himself a year, Jim McElwain slumping and Mary Wise showing why she belongs in volleyball. Our roundtable of Chris O’Brien, Evan Lepak, Andrew Huang, Brendan Farrell and Mark Stine debate about which event was the record or milestone of the year.

Chris: I don’t really know if this is the right example, but who cares?

The football team sucked last season, and its 4-7 record is a milestone. A bad one, but a milestone nonetheless.

Maybe it’s a hallmark for worst UF coach ever (shoutout to Ron Zook and Charley Pell, the walking probation) in Jim McElwain.

The four wins were all over mediocre teams - Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt and UAB. In its seven losses, its scoring average was 16.43, and only once did it score more than 20 points (that stat includes defensive touchdowns as well). That was against FSU in a beatdown loss 38-22, where UF scored a touchdown with 37 seconds left to push them over 20.

Last year’s football team was not fun to watch. To me, it’s a historic milestone because it marked another year that UF was mired in offensive mediocrity.

The last time Florida lost less than four games? 2012. Six straight years of being average. And really, 2012 was an outlier because, prior to that year, the last time the Gators lost less than four was in 2009 - Tebow’s final season.

Eight of nine years of mediocrity.

Before 2009, Florida fans were treated to some damn good football. There weren’t back-to-back seasons with at least four losses between 2003 and 2009. Now, it has been eight of nine years that football hasn’t been very fun to watch.

That’s a milestone if you ask me.

Regarding McElwain, I don’t even need to go into detail for you to know he’s already got a case for worst Florida coach ever.

That’s a pretty good (bad) milestone of the year if you ask me.

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Evan: So if you've paid attention even a little bit to UF swimming over the last few seasons, you'd know right away who Caeleb Dressel is.
You'd know that he's an absolute monster in the pool, and you'd probably also know his personal list of accomplishments runs longer than the Nile River.
Breaking records seem so incredibly effortless to this guy, yet you can't help but be impressed.
That's why my "Record of the Year" candidate belongs to Dressel's accomplishments at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis last March.
The Green Cove Springs, Florida, native took the event by storm, thrashing through records just like he did the water.
The 28-time All-American broke both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle records, becoming the first person to ever swim under 18 seconds in the 50 (17.63) and also becoming the first person to swim under 40 seconds in the 100 (39.90).
That's simply incredible if you really sit back and think about it.
Does the guy even breathe oxygen? Has anybody confirmed whether he has gills or not?
And oh yeah, the two-time Olympic gold medalist would also go on to become the 2018 NCAA champion in the 100-fly as well as the 200-free relay for a total of four titles in one meet.
Florida's most-decorated swimmer in the program's history will be missed mightily in Gainesville, but one thing's certain: We haven't seen the last of Caeleb Dressel.
The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are right around the corner, and I'm pretty confident you might hear Mr. Dressel's name more than a few times.


Brendan: I’ll fully admit that this is more of an emotional pick than a logical one, but Chris Chiozza breaking the all-time school assists record was just incredible to watch.

The Gators’ 2017-18 basketball season was a wild roller-coaster ride of incredible highs and unfathomable lows, but Chris Chiozza was the steadying force of an otherwise inconsistent team.

After splitting point guard duties with Kasey Hill for three years, Chiozza finally was the starting point guard for the Gators full-time in 2017-18. And with that came 205 assists for the season, 73 more than he had the season prior.

Entering the regular season finale against Kentucky, Chiozza just needed one more assist to pass Erving Walker’s record for the most assists in school history.

With 6:06 left in the first half, Chiozza took a few dribbles and went to drive towards the basket before pulling up and dishing the ball to Keith Stone, who drilled a three-pointer to give Chiozza the all-time career record with 548 assists. Between the rest of the game, the SEC tournament and the NCAA tournament, he would add another 23 assists, firmly establishing himself as the owner of the most career assists in Florida history with 571 total.

For him to do this on Senior Day in his last game in the Swamp was just incredible to watch in-person, and it was a fantastic way to cap off an illustrious career at Florida.

And, oh yeah, he led Florida to an 80-67 demolition of rival Kentucky in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.


Mark: Last season was full of individual record-breaking efforts from some great seniors.

Caeleb Dressel set records at the NCAA Swimming Championships. Alex McMurtry finished the career “Gym Slam” by earning two perfect scores to beat Oklahoma. And Chris Chiozza set the all-time assist record on Senior Day.

However, Grant Holloway’s record-setting year in men’s indoor and outdoor hurdles was Florida’s most astounding.

The man broke the collegiate record in the 60-meter indoor hurdles (7.42) and won the national title for the second-straight season.

He backed that up by setting the school record in the 110-meter outdoor hurdles (13.15), also good for second in collegiate history, and winning the national championship in that event for back-to-back seasons.

He’s only the second man in collegiate history (Terrence Trammell, South Carolina, 1999-00) to sweep the 60- and 110-meter hurdles in two-consecutive seasons.

And he’s only a sophomore. In 2017, he was the first freshman ever to sweep both events.

But these accomplishments don’t even begin to express how amazing of an athlete Holloway is.

He took gold at the SEC Outdoor Championships last season in the long jump, defeating his teammate KeAndre Bates, the 2017 national champion.

He also ran second leg in the 4x400 outdoor relay team that set the school record.

Holloway is already the greatest hurdler in program history, but imagine what he can accomplish with two more years under Mike Holloway (not his dad).


Andrew: It’s no secret that sexism is alive and well in this country. I’m not here to call the entire sport of volleyball sexist, but it does make me scratch my head knowing that there’s only one female head coach among the top five winningest NCAA women’s – keyword “women’s” –  volleyball.

That coach is Mary Wise, an unparalleled trailblazer who hit several milestones as UF’s head coach last season. For one, she became just the fourth coach in NCAA volleyball history to win 800 games with one Division I school. This happened with sweeps of Florida A&M and Northern Kentucky on a Sept. 15 double header. Again, she’s the only female coach to accomplish this (in a sport played exclusively by women).

She also remains the only female head coach to reach the NCAA championship game (2003 and 2017) and is also the only woman to coach in multiple Final Fours. Wise finished last season with a whopping 905 career wins. That’s more victories than all but four coaches in the history of women’s college volleyball. And of course, the top four are all men.

Not to harp on the sexist angle, but the fact that she’s compiling an all-time great resume while taking on the burden of leading the charge for gender equality in college volleyball, has all of my respect.



Mary Wise coached the UF volleyball team to the NCAA championship match last season. She was named AVCA National Coach of the Year for 2017 and claimed her 23rd SEC Championship with the program. 

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