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Ernestine Weaver Russell and Chrissy Van Fleet joined the Gator Athletic Hall of Fame Friday.

Friday April 5, 2013UF Athletic Hall of Fame Welcomes Ernestine (Weaver) Russell and Chrissy Van Fleet Tonight

Gainesville, Fla.

Ernestine Weaver Russell and Chrissy Van Fleet joined the Gator Athletic Hall of Fame Friday.

Eleven-time All-American Chrissy Van Fleet and Ernestine (Weaver) Russell joined the Gator Athletics Hall of Fame tonight in the induction ceremony held in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. 

Each year, the F-Club Committee selects members to the Hall of Fame. Van Fleet, who shares the UF gymnastics record for career All-America honors (11) with 2012 Gator Hall of Fame inductee Kristen Guise, enters as a Gator Great. Gator Greats are letterwinners who have brought recognition and prominence to the University and themselves by athletic accomplishments as a student-athlete.

Van Fleet earned All-America honors each year of her collegiate career and is one of three Gators to earn All-Southeastern Conference honors all four years. She won the 1999 SEC balance beam title and became the second Gator to earn the SEC Gymnast of the Year honor in 2000. Her 16 all-around titles places her fifth on the Gators career list.

Ernestine Weaver Russell joins the Hall of Fame as an Honorary Letterwinner. This category includes coaches and athletic officials – after retirement – who were not letterwinners/athletes at the University of Florida, yet have rendered outstanding service to the intercollegiate athletic program through personal time, effort, interest and through many years of continued service.

Russell led the Gator program from 1980 to 1992, posting a record of 184-48 in her 13 seasons with UF. She led the Gators to five (1982, ’83, ’84, ’85, ’89) SEC titles and Florida claimed the 1982 AIAW National Championship. Florida advanced to every possible NCAA Championships’ field during her tenure (11 consecutive from 1982-92). Gators earned a total of 35 All-America honors under her guidance and three claimed national event titles (Ann Woods – 1982 AIAW all-around, uneven bars, floor exercise; Lynn McDonnell – 1982 AIAW balance beam; Maria Anz – 1984 NCAA floor exercise).

Gator gymnastics popularity grew tremendously during Russell’s time at Florida. The marketing and event showmanship exhibited by the Gator Gymnastics program under Russell was studied and emulated by other programs. Gymnastics continues to rank among the nation’s top women’s collegiate athletic crowds each season.

Joining Van Fleet and Russell at tonight’s induction ceremony were Gator Greats Jeff Davis (Wrestling), Josh Fogg (Baseball), Rex Grossman (Football), Riko Higashio (Women’s Golf), Heather Mitts (Soccer) and Mike Pearson (Football). Former UF football player and assistant coach Larry Morris also was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Letterwinner.

 

 

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