Stephen C. O'Connell Center
The Gator gymnasts call the Stephen C. O'Connell Center home. The O'Connell Center's main arena has showcased every possible collegiate championship event on multiple occasions. Three NCAA Championships were contested in the O’Connell Center (1986, 1997 and 2010). In addition, the O’Connell Center has played host to NCAA Southeast Region and Southeastern Conference Championship events several times. The next NCAA event set for the O’Connell Center is the NCAA Southeast Regional on April 6, 2013.
A record crowd of 10,855 viewed the Jan. 18, 2008 gymnastics meet featuring No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Georgia at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Florida gymnastics turned in the program’s third-highest attendance average of more than 6,100 per meet in 2011, which ranked fourth in the nation.
Both meet and practice facilities are held in the O'Connell Center, which covers 3.6 acres and contains 292,000 square feet of space. The O’Connell Center had an $8.1 million facelift in the summer of 1998 to add a new roof and improvements to the Gator gymnastics practice facility. The project also upgraded the sound and lighting systems to give the Gators a state-of-the-art capability for pre-meet and competition activities. Another $2.5 million project upgraded concessions, restrooms and entrance ways in the summer of 1999. The fan experience was further enhanced prior to the 2007 season with the addition of four Daktronics 12' x 16' video boards which feature high quality, 10-millimeter resolution, as well as full-color ProAd LED panels. The cost of the additions totaled nearly $3 million.
The Gator gymnastics staff and team locker room are located in O’Connell Center. The spacious locker room accommodations feature lockers for each gymnast and shower facilities for use exclusively by the Gator gymnasts. The team and staff also have use of a lounge area, which is perfect for studying, team meetings or a quick nap.
The arena seats 11,120 for gymnastics meets and is home for the Gator basketball and indoor track teams, as well as the Gator volleyball team. The O'Connell Center is also the site for Florida swimming & diving and indoor track & field competitions.
Ted Crom Gymnastics Studio
The Ted Crom Gymnastics Studio, practice site of the Gator gymnasts, can also be found in the O'Connell Center. The studio stretches over 9,000 square-feet and contains state-of-the-art AAI equipment. The Gymnastics Studio was redesigned during the 1997 off-season to accommodate a 16'x40'x6' free foam pit. The pit has a tumbling strip on one end, while the other side features vaulting and a tumble trak. Other additions in the last few seasons include four new balance beams, a rod tumbling strip, a Palmer spring floor exercise, new mats throughout the Ted Crom Gymnastics Studio, a state-of-the-art trench bar, a cast-handstand trainer, trampoline, a double-mini trampoline, overhead spotting rig, a trampoline/vault system and a bungee system.
|Stephen C. O'Connell Center Records|
|All Around||39.80||Kristen Guise||Florida||3/8/96|
|Uneven Bars||10.0||Melanie Sinclair||Florida||1/30/09|
Gator Gymnastics Fan Support
Florida is nationally recognized as a hotbed of collegiate gymnastics. The crowds are getting bigger each year at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, with the Gators averaging more than 6,100 fans per meet in 2011 -- the nation's fourth-highest attendance average and the third-highest season average in the program's history.
Half of the program’s top six crowds have come in the last four years. The 2008 regular-season dual meet featuring then No. 1 Florida versus No. 2 Georgia drew a Gator gymnastics record crowd of 10,855. The 2010 Gators Link to Pink meet versus LSU drew the program’s third-largest crowd of 9,198. The 2011 Gators Link to Pink meet drew the program’s overall fifth-largest crowd (8,272). Florida’s strong fan base played a big role in the Gators being awarded the 2010 NCAA Gymnastics Championships. The Gators will play host to NCAA action again in 2013 when the NCAA Southeast Region Championships are held in the O’Connell Center.
|Top 10 Gator Gymnastics Crowds|
|9,198||Gators Link to Pink versus LSU||1/29/2010|
|8,272||Gators Link to Pink versus Penn State & NC State||1/28/2011|
|8,119||Super Six Challenge||1/7/2005|
|8,019||Gators Link to Pink vs. Kentucky||1/30/2009|
|7,486||NCAA Gymnastics Championships||4/19/1986|
|7,329||NCAA Gymnastics Championships||4/18/1986|
|Gator Attendance Growth Since Faehn's Arrival|
Interest in Gator gymnastics has been growing in recent years. UF's season average attendance has grown significantly since the arrival of Rhonda Faehn for the 2003 season.
|Gator gymnasts can relax or study in the newly renovated team room, which is connects to the locker room.||Florida gymnasts enjoy the spacious accommodations in their locker room, which is just steps away from the O'Connell Center's main arena.|