Florida fans have dished out a different type of home cooking this basketball season: The heat is turned up on interim coach Don DeVoe every time the Gators return to the O'Connell Center. So DeVoe was relieved to hear cheers and not jeers when he returned on Saturday to Tennessee, where he spent the previous 11 seasons. Volunteers fans were even more gracious after the Gators obliged by losing their 11th straight game, 75-57.
"I'm not used to people cheering me," DeVoe said. "It's nice to hear some recognition in a positive sense for a change."
Things got so bad in Gainesville this season that DeVoe's name was announced just prior to making players' introductions, rather than allowing the home crowd to respond independently to the acknowledgement of the head coach.
"This might be the only institution to change the order of introducing the coach to keep the roar of the crowd down," said DeVoe.
A few fun facts to know and tell about the Gators' spring sports programs:
Baseball: Freshman pitcher John Burke, a right-hander from Englewood, Colo., became the first Florida player to strike out 13 batters in a game in two seasons with a complete-game victory over USF Sunday. Burke (2-1) equaled the performance of Johnny Wiggs, who fanned 13 in 1988. Florida is 6-3 overall.
Track: The Gators are host to the Southeastern Conference indoor track championships Saturday and Sunday at the O'Connell Center. Florida is led by sophomore Tyrone Kemp, who ran a personal-record 46.85 in the 400-meter dash to snap Antonio McKay's 17-meet win streak at the Millrose Games last week.
Tennis: Florida's men's tennis team upset No.
23 Mississippi State 5-4 Sunday to improve its dual-match record to 3-0. The Gators' program has improved steadily, posting a 14-11 record last season after winning just three matches in 1988.
Swimming: UF sophomore swimmer Anthony Nesty, who won an Olympic gold medal in the 100-butterfly in 1988, has been selected to represent the United States in the Goodwill Games in Seattle next July. The Gators travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Southeastern Conference championships Wednesday through Saturday. Florida's men's team is led by Martin Zubero, who holds four top times in the league for the 100- and 200-backstroke and the 200- and 400-intermediate medley.