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Coach Thornqvist stands with James Bates in front of the finished wall.

Wednesday June 1, 2011Gator's National Tennis Championship Celebrated on 34th Street Wall

Gainesville, Fla.

Coach Thornqvist stands with James Bates in front of the finished wall.

Led by enthusiastic James Bates, who was a co-captain of the Gator football team’s 1996 national championship squad, the Florida women’s tennis team was honored on the 34th Street Wall in Gainesville.


The local tradition includes painting part of the half-mile-long Wall after events big and small, done for individuals, groups or teams.


UF soccer head coach Becky Burleigh was the initiator of painting the 34th Street Wall to salute the 2011 tennis team, but her flight was delayed and she wasn’t able to participate – with the exception of the ‘Big Heads’ of head coach Roland Thornqvist and associate head coach Dave Balogh she had made for regular-season matches.


Bates led the group that included two of his daughters, Nan Thornqvist – the wife of coach Thornqvist – both of coach’s daughters, as well as others in the Gainesville community.


·         PHOTO GALLERY (by Jennifer Quinn)


Sophomore Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) was in town for a few hours for an appointment and was called to drive past the 34th Street Wall to see a ‘surprise.’


Shortly afterwards, coach Thornqvist received a call at home from his wife Nan, who was among those painting the tribute on the Wall and asked him to pick up one of their daughters and they could meet there.


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