Abby Wambach, Udonis Haslem and Alex Brown headline a list of eight inductees to the 2012 UF Athletic Hall of Fame announced by the University of Florida F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc., on Wednesday.
The 2012 class also features women’s track and field star Hazel Clark-Riley, gymnast Kristen Guise Lee, tennis great Jeff Morrison and Stephanie Nickitas, and former football player Larry Travis, who will be honored as a distinguished letterwinner during the Hall of Fame banquet on April 6, 2012 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Wambach leads the class after coming off of a thrilling second place finish in the 2011 Women’s World Cup as a member of Team USA. Wambach is the all-time U.S. World Cup goal scorer after competing in three World Cups. As a Gator from 1998-2001, Wambach was a four-time All-American and won back-to-back SEC Player of the Year awards in 2000 and 2001.
Haslem joins the class after coming after an NBA finals loss as a member of the Miami Heat. Haslem won an NBA championship with the Heat in 2006, and led the Gators to the National Championship game in 2000, but fell short to Michigan State. From 1999-2002, Haslem helped the Gators win SEC championships in 2000 and 2001. He was also an All-SEC first team selection in 2001 and 2002.
Brown played defensive end for head coach Steve Spurrier from 1998-2001, where he became the Gators’ all-time leader with 33 career sacks including 13 sacks during the 1999 season, also a UF record. Brown was a member of the 2000 SEC Championship team and was the 2001 SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He was also a two-time First Team All-American in 1999 and 2001.
Clark-Riley was finished her UF career with three national championships, 13 All-America awards, 15 All-SEC honors and 56 collegiate victories from 1996-1999. She was also a member of the US Track teams in 2000, 2004 and 2008, and a five-time USA Outdoor 800m Champion in 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Guise Lee was an 11-time All-American during her time with the Gators gymnastics team from 1993-1996. In 1994, she was the female recipient of the Ben Hill Griffin Award and in 1996, she won SEC Gymnast of the Year and runner up at the NCAA Championships for the all-around competition.
Morrison won the NCAA Singles Championship and SEC Player of the Year in 2009 as a member of the men’s tennis team from 1997-2000. He is still the Gators’ all-time leader in single-season wins.
Nickitas posted a 120-3 career record as a part of the Gators’ women’s tennis team from 1996-99. She won back-to-back NCAA doubles championships from 1996-1997, and was also a member of the Gators’ 1996 and 1998 NCAA Championship teams.
Travis rounds out the class not only as a former player from 1960-62, but also an assistant coach for Florida from 1963-66. Travis, who is currently the mayor of High Springs, made coaching stops at Kansas, Ole Miss, Louisville and Georgia Tech, as well as athletic director jobs at Kansas State and Western Carolina.
The six Gator Greats and lone Distinguished Letterwinner will join the current 367 members of the hall of fame for bringing recognition and prominence to the University of Florida through their athletic efforts during their time as students.
Gator Country editor and reporter Safid Deen can be reached at Safid@GatorCountry.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at SafidDeenGC.