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

  1. Gators diving coach Donnie Craine dies in tragic boating accident

    Blog

    Longtime Florida men's and women's diving coach Donnie Craine died this morning in a boating accident, the school announced.

    Craine, 61, was boating off the coast of Bokeelia in Lake County when the accident occurred.

    “You’ll never meet a nicer guy than Donnie Craine,” Gators swimming coach Gregg Troy said. “He was caring for not just the athletes he worked with, but for everyone he came in touch with. He was a tremendous family man. This is a great loss to everyone.”...

    Donnie Craine
  2. Steve Spurrier might hang around South Carolina a lot longer than expected

    Blog

    Florida fans might have to deal with going head-to-head with former Gators coach Steve Spurrier for at least a few more years.

    Spurrier, who spent 12 seasons as the Gators head coach, has now been at South Carolina since 2005.

    When he arrived Spurrier said he wanted to stay long enough to become the winningest coach in South Carolina's history. Now that he's accomplished that, he now thinks 10-15 years might be a nice tenure....

  3. Midweek non-conference games stymie Gator baseball team

    Blog

    It's been a tough start to the week for the Gators baseball team.

    When the week began, the Gators were on a 6-game winning streak, had risen to No. 12 in the latest rankings, and were coming off a series sweep over rival Georgia.

    With midweek, non-conference games against two teams that were a combined 30-46 entering the week, the Gators seemed poised to pick up a couple more wins before heading into this weekend's home series vs. SEC East foe Missouri....

  4. Former Gators won't be high on 2014 NFL draft boards

    Blog

    Coming off a 4-8 season, the Gators have several players expected to be taken in next month's NFL Draft, but none of them are expected to be high draft picks, according to ESPN.com's NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper, Jr.

    Florida DB Marcus Roberson and CB Louchez Purifoy did not run well during their NFL workouts, and that will hurt both Kiper said. He said neither will be first round selections and that Purifoy may fall as late as the fourth round. Roberson will also be a third or fourth round pick, Kiper said....

  5. Former Gator Will Hill facing third substance abuse suspension

    Blog

    The Associated Press is reporting that former Gator safety Will Hill is facing a possible third suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.

    Hill was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season for using a performance-enhancing drug, which he said was Adderall. He was suspended for the first four games last season for using marijuana, which he said was to relieve stress....

  6. Former Gator Jon Harrison says 2013 team was in total chaos

    Blog

    It should come as no surprise to anyone who watched the Florida Gators' 2013 season closely, but former Gators center Jon Harrison has opened up about that tumultuous season in which he says the teams "crumbled" and was in chaos.

    In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne, Harrison describes locker room fights and altercations, players sneaking girls into the team hotels before games - or sneaking out themselves - and other events that led to the Gators "falling apart."...

  7. After 27 years, UF golf coach calls it quits

    Colleges

    GAINESVILLE — Buddy Alexander, the Florida men's golf coach who led the Gators to two national titles, has decided to retire after 27 seasons.

    Alexander such PGA tournament winners as Matt Every, Billy Horschel, Chris DiMarco, Dudley Hart and Camlio Villegas. Thirty-one of his athletes played on the tour.

    Alexander, a St. Petersburg native, will coach the Gators at this week's SEC tournament and will finish the remainder of the season, officially leaving on June 30....

  8. Vegas puts odds on Gators Billy Donovan in the NBA

    Blog

    In the midst of reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves are interested in Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan, Vegas is weighing in on the odds Donovan - and several other college coaches - will become the Timberwolves' new coach.

    Bovada lists Donovan's chances at 4/1 to be the new head coach.

    ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported that Donovan was one of several coaches the Wolves are interested in to replace the retiring Rick Adelman....

    Bovada lists Billy Donovan's chances at 4/1 to be the Minnesota Timberwolves' new head coach.
  9. Former Gators coach Frank Verducci joins Northern Iowa staff

    Blog

    Former Florida O-line coach Frank Verducci has been hired at the new tight ends/offensive line coach at Northern Iowa, coach Mark Farley announced.

    It is yet another stop for the veteran coach who has been a nomad in the profession, coaching in the Big Ten, SEC and NFL.

    Verducci spent one season with the Gators under coach Will Muschamp, but was fired after one season after reportedly seeking NFL jobs at the end of the season. He spent the past season with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. He has been in coaching since 1984....

  10. Gators golf coach Buddy Alexander to retire after nearly three decades

    Blog

    Longtime Florida men's golf coach Buddy Alexander announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the season.

    Alexander, a native of St. Petersburg, will conclude his career with the Gators after 27 seasons.

    He is scheduled to coach the Gators at this week’s SEC Tournament and will finish out the remainder of the season.He will officially walk away on June 30.

    "Coaching is a young man's game and it is simply time for me to turn the reins over to someone else and allow this great university, athletic department and golf program to be everything it should be," Alexander said. "I just thought it was a good time to do it."

    Alexander is Florida’s longest-tenured coach and is second all-time behind former UF baseball coach Dave Fuller, who led the Gators for 28 seasons from 1948-75.

    Alexander, 61, is an eight-time SEC Coach of the Year and led the Gators to two national titles (1993, 2001) and 11 top-10 finishes and seven Top-five finishes at the NCAA Championships.

    “He’s one of the all-time greats,’’ Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “He’s had a heck of a run. There’s no better Gator than Buddy Alexander.”...

  11. Gators Rhonda Faehn leads Florida to back-to-back gymnastics national titles "the right way"

    Blog

    When Rhonda Faehn took over the Florida gymnastics program 12 years ago, she said her major goal was to build Florida into a place where top recruits would always consider among their potential choices.

    After Saturday night, it's safe to say Faehn has accomplished that goal.

    In what Faehn called the Gators' best overall performance of the season, Florida rallied in the final rotation to earn its second consecutive NCAA Gymnastics Championship Saturday night in Birmingham. The Gators shared the title with Oklahoma after the two finished with identical scores of 198.175. It is the first tie in the 33-year history of the NCAA gymnastics championships.

    "What an incredible weekend of gymnastics," Faehn said Monday. I’m so proud of all of our athletes that competed their hearts out and really put together the best weekend of gymnastics that we’ve done all year. They just left it all out there on the floor and the results just couldn’t have been in better. I was proud for our senior class. . . to go out there and just what a way to finish off their careers winning back-to-back national titles, especially with as many injuries as they’ve had to deal with throughout their careers. It’s really still surreal, it’s going to take awhile to set in."

    Florida is the first team to win its first two NCAA Championships in consecutive years since Utah claimed the first five NCAA titles (1982-86). Six teams have claimed national gymnastics team titles - Alabama, UCLA, Florida, Georgia, Utah and Oklahoma. That is the fewest number of different teams to
    claim the national crown among the 13 sports challenging for national titles since the NCAA began fielding women’s championships in the 1981-82 season.

    The Gators are also the first team which began the season at No. 1 in the GymInfo preseason poll to win the NCAA title since Georgia in 2009.

    Florda won its second title in dramatic form. The Gators entered the final rotation trailing Oklahoma, which had scored the highest score in NCAA Tournament history and was awaiting Florida's completion of the meet in first place. After Kytra Hunter scored a 9.95 on the floor routine, it was up to Bridgette Caquatto to do at least the same, if not better, for the Gators to win the title.

    “It was so special because and it was a perfect position for her because she had put so much pressure on herself," Faehn said. "We were in that exact scenario a month ago for the SEC championships,in that exact same arena, on that floor – and we didn’t perform the way we wanted to. And that was the best learning experience for the entire team, but also for Bridgette because she was able to step inside herself to figure out what she was thinking when the mistake happened (at SEC’s) and what she needed to do the next time she was put in that situation. And there she was, exactly in that situation, but the pressure level raised probably a million times. And she performed beautifully. And that’s the mark of a tremendous mental competitor. is that when the biggest pressure is on, they deliver. I was thrilled for her."

    Faehn said she didn't talk to Hunter and Caquatto about what scores they needed because she didn't want to add any pressure before they took the floor to compete.

    “I had an idea that they both had to basically hit the routines of their life, the best that they could do," she said. "And I was just telling them just go out and have fun and do what you know how to do. You really cannot put that extra pressure on them if you let them know. They know what’s at stake. They can feel the intensity in the atmosphere. But it was wonderful because that was an exception routine for Kytra, no doubt. And then Bridgette that’s one of the best she’s done all year. And then at that point, we just have to leave it in the hands of the judges because we didn’t really know exactly the score. And when we finished, I just turned to the athletes and said, you know what it doesn’t matter what the score is, how it finishes, I’m just proud of the way you performed. That Super Six competition, that was the best performance overall from all of our athletes for the whole season. And that’s all you can ask from the team.

    "And then I heard Adrian (Burde, UF assistant coach) say we tied and I was like ‘What does that mean?’ Nobody’s ever tied before. So instantly I was like somebody get out the calculator because we might have to count that sixth score. And then somebody said if they do a tiebreak you win by a quarter of a tenth. And then somebody came over from the NCAA and said ‘we don’t break the tie'. So Adrian ran over to Oklahoma and told them they’d won too. And it was just a great way to share the title with Oklahoma."

    Three years ago, the Gators entered the national championships ranked No. 1 and with high expectations to win it all, but fell short. Faehn said she learned some valuable lessons from that season.

    “I think one of the biggest things is that it’s important that the athletes are able to buy in and believe that not only are they capable of winning, but stepping back and not having that expectation," she said. "In the past I felt they were focused in on the end result, and when you do that you get ahead of yourself and you’re not focusing in on the present and what’s right in front of you. And the last few years I think we’ve really done a great job of being able to step back and kind of keep the big ahhh at the end of the season away from them so that their sole focus is taking it one step at a time – qualifying for the Super Six and not thinking about how you want to win the title before you even compete in the Super Six. And then the next thing is just really grateful to be on that floor and given a possibility to win. And then taking it event per event. It’s easier said than done. It’s no doubt it’s so hard to keep them focused, to not look at the score, to not get distracted by the crowd. And that’s the main thing."...

    In what coach Rhonda Faehn called the Gators' best overall performance of the season, Florida rallied in the final rotation to earn its second consecutive NCAA Gymnastics Championship Saturday night in Birmingham.
  12. Police to investigate nonarrest of ex-Gator Loucheiz Purifoy

    College

    GAINESVILLE — As former Florida Gators cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy prepares for next month's NFL draft, legal troubles he incurred last month are at the forefront of a police investigation.

    The Gainesville Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the suppression of an arrest warrant against Purifoy after he was accused of drug possession, the Gainesville Sun reported Saturday....

  13. Multiple Gator teams vying for championships this weekend

    Blog

    It's a championship weekend for several Florida Gators teams who will be vying for conference and national titles.

    The defending national champion Gators gymnastics team is in Alabama this weekend for the NCAA Gymnastics championships.

    The No. 1 Gators (15-2, 6-1 SEC) will compete in tonight's second semifinal round at 8 p.m. along with Alabama, UCLA, Nebraska, Penn State and Utah. Florida will begin the competition on the vault....

  14. Florida's new offense generates lots of optimism

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Six hundred and six.

    If you're a Florida fan looking for just the slightest light at the end of what has been a really dark tunnel since September, Saturday afternoon's 606 yards of offense between the Orange and Blue teams during the spring game might help.

    New offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's spread, uptempo scheme generated offense and optimism during the Gators' final practice in front of 35,834 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium....

    Florida’s Jeff Driskel, in his first action since breaking his right leg Sept. 21, goes 18-of-32 for 167 yards and a touchdown.
  15. Gators Will Muschamp happy with spring practice

    Blog

    Florida concluded its 2014 spring practices today with the annual Orange and Blue game.

    Gators coach Will Muschamp said he was pleased with the overall practices, including the installation of Florida's new up-tempo offense under Kurt Roper.

    Hear Muschamp's postgame comments: <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/SBhi6bbbyu8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>...