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Antonya English, Times Staff Writer

Antonya English

Antonya English has covered University of Florida sports for the Times since 2001, a tenure that has included three head football coaches and three national champions. A former news reporter, she moved to the sports department at the Gainesville Sun in 1993 for what she thought would be a short stint, and never looked back. She came to the Times from the Dallas Morning News in 1997.

Phone: (813) 226-3389

E-mail: english@tampabay.com

Blog: Gator Report

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  1. Chris Walker leaving Gators basketball for NBA draft

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Florida sophomore forward Chris Walker has declared for the NBA draft and will not return for his junior season. He joins junior guard Michael Frazier off the Gators' 2014-15 team to leave school early.

    "I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates and everyone at Florida for my experience here," Walker, who played in 49 games in his two-year UF career, said Friday. "I'm excited to continue pursuing my dream of playing professionally."...

    Chris Walker was a McDonald’s All-American but didn’t meet expectations at UF.
  2. Gators sophomore Chris Walker declares for NBA Draft

    Blog

    He was expected to be one of the rare one-and-done players for Florida coach Billy Donovan.

    Instead, Chris Walker is two-and-done.

    Florida announced today that the sophomore forward has declared for the NBA Draft, and will not return for his junior season. During part of two seasons Walker played in 49 games for Florida.

    Walker joins Michael Frazier II, of Tampa, as early entries off UF’s 2014-15 team....

  3. After 3 titles, Rhonda Faehn resigns from Gators gymnastics

    Colleges

    GAINESVILLE — Less than one week after leading Florida to its third consecutive NCAA gymnastics championship, Florida coach Rhonda Faehn has resigned to take a position with USA Gymnastics.

    The 43-year-old will become senior vice president of USA Gymnastics, Florida athletic officials announced on Friday.

    "It was incredibly hard," Faehn said. "I absolutely love Florida and what the University of Florida stands for. At the same time, I really feel there is another plan for me. I'm still going to be doing what I love and hopefully making an impact on the lives of a lot of athletes who will be representing our country."...

  4. Stunner in Gainesville: Gymnastics coach Rhonda Faehn leaving for job with USA Gymnastics

    Blog

    Less than one week after leading Florida to its third consecutive NCAA gymnastics championship, Florida head coach Rhonda Faehn has resigned to take a position with USA Gymnastics.

    The 43-year-old will become senior vice president of USA Gymnastics, Florida athletic officials announced on Friday.

    “It was incredibly hard,” Faehn said. “I absolutely love Florida and what the University of Florida stands for.  At the same time, I really feel there is another plan for me. I’m still going to be doing what I love and hopefully making an impact on the lives of a lot of athletes who will be representing our country.”...

  5. From St. Petersburg, Dante Fowler reaches for new NFL heights

    College

    GAINESVILLE — When he takes a moment to stop and think, it doesn't seem that long ago that Dante Fowler was playing with the Northeast Bandits youth league football team in St. Petersburg. He remembers those days fondly and says, even today, the memories flood back like yesterday.

    Back then, Fowler didn't know what his football future would hold.

    He does now.

    When the NFL draft begins Thursday, Fowler is expected to become the highest drafted player in Tampa Bay area high school history, surpassing Florida running back Larry Smith (Robinson High), who was drafted eighth overall by the Los Angeles Rams in 1969....

    St. Petersburg native Dante Fowler played three seasons of defensive line at Florida after starring at Lakewood High.
  6. Gators DB J.C. Jackson pleads not guilty to armed robbery

    Blog

    Gators defensive back J.C. Jackson has pled not guilty to three counts of first-degree felony armed robbery, according to court records.

    Jackson, who was released from jail earlier this week on $150,000 bond, entered a written plea to the charges Thursday morning.

    Jackson was arrested Sunday after he allegedly aided in a robbbery in a southwest Gainesville apartment where $382 and two gaming systems were taken while the alleged victims were held at gunpoint....

  7. Scott Brooks' firing fuels speculation about Billy Donovan's future with the Gators

    Blog

    The rumors have now advanced to the heavy speculation stage.

    Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti has reportedly fired coach Scott Brooks, and Florida coach Billy Donovan has immediately been named as someone Presti will target as a replacement.

    According to Yahoo Sports, sources have said Donovan is "a serious potential candidate to replace Brooks."...

    Gators head coach Billy Donovan looks on during the second half of the Nov. 21 game against Louisiana Monroe at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville.
  8. SEC "experts" rank Gainesville among worst league towns

    Blog

    When it comes to college towns unless you're - well in college - Gainesville ain't that great.

    At least that's the opinion of 12 SEC "experts".

    Athlon Sports asked 12 people, including longtime sports broadcaster Tim Brando and veteran college football writer Tony Barnhart, to rate the 14 SEC towns.

    Gainesville came in at No. 11.

    Nashville was No. 1, and probably no surprise, Starkville, Miss., was dead last....

  9. Gators OL Rod Johnson: "It's hard to walk away from this game"

    Blog

    Nearly one week after a medical diagnosis forced him to quit playing football, Gators OL Rod Johnson issued a statement, saying how difficult it is to walk away from the game he loves and thanking the Florida staff for its assistance.

    Here is Johnson's statement, in his own words, released by the UAA today.

    “Spinal stenosis -- April 3 2015 -- the day that changed my life. It’s hard to walk away from this game, and it's dearly easy to fall In love with when you have the right mindset and the dedication. I enjoyed my time as a Gator from the first day I got that call from Coach Muschamp. I instantly fell in love with a school I didn't like since I was a kid (lol). I had a tough time trying to enroll due to my grades....

  10. Gators strike right balance for gymnastics dynasty

    Colleges

    GAINESVILLE — Rhonda Faehn was sitting in Jeremy Foley's office during a job interview 13 years ago when the Florida athletic director asked what was probably the most important question she'd hear: "Why can't Florida win a national title (in gymnastics)?"

    Before Faehn arrived, it had never happened.

    "I said, absolutely we can," Faehn recalled Monday morning. "Everything is here, it's a gold mine. Recruiting is a huge lifeblood of a program and since I firmly believed with all my heart that this program had that potential, (I had) to go out and find those athletes that believed that as well. To slowly build, and build, and keep believing was just key."...

    The University of Florida gymnastics team celebrates its first place win in the 2015 NCAA Gymnastics Championships on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas. [Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS]
  11. Gators football player J.C. Jackson arrested on armed robbery charges

    Blog

    Florida cornerback J.C. Jackson is in the Alachua County Jail today facing a charge of robbery with a firearm after he allegedly participated in an armed robbery at a Gainesville apartment.

    Jackson, whose full name is Jerald Christopher Jackson, was arrested early Sunday morning.  A judge has ordered a $150,000 bond.

    "We are aware of the news involving J.C. Jackson, and he is currently dealing with a serious issue,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said. “We don't condone any of his actions, and it is not something that reflects on the expectations we have in the program. It is being handled accordingly due to the severity of his actions."...

  12. Gators gymnastics team begins quest for third straight national title

    Blog

    The two-time defending national champion Florida gymnastics team will begin its quest for a third consecutive title tonight at the Fort Worth Covention Center.

    This is the first NCAA Gymnastics Championships event held in Texas.

    For the first time in the history of NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, a pair of teams - Florida and Oklahoma - will be trying to defend their titles. The two shared the national championship in 2014. The Gators also won in 2013....

  13. Billy Donovan NBA talk resurfaces

    Blog

    Talk of Florida coach Billy Donovan leaving for the NBA is on the rise, again.

    After the Gators finished the 2014-15 season with a 16-17 record, speculation began that Donovan may be starting to feel the need to move on after 19 years as the Gators' head coach.

    He has never denied his interest in possibly becoming an NBA coach.

    On Thursday, Yahoo Sports reported that sources have said Donovan "could emerge as a serious candidate" to replace Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks if he is not retained....

  14. Former Gators use social media to react to Aaron Hernandez guilty verdict

    Blog

    After former Florida All-American tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd on Wednesday, former teammates took to social media to express shock and sadness.

    Hernandez was part of the 2008 national championship team with the Gators, and was close to several of his former teammates.

    Shortly after the verdict was announced on live television across the nation, former Gator All-American CB Joe Haden put one word on his Twitter account: "Speechless."...

  15. Gators to find role for injured OL Rod Johnson

    Blog

    Gators OL Rod Johnson has been foreced to quit football, but coach Jim McElwain said that doesn't mean he's leaving the program.

    On Tuesday Johnson was diagnosed with congenital cervical stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that surrounds the spinal cord, preventing enough fluid to gather around the spinal cord to properly protect it from injury.

    Doctors recommended Johnson never play football again....