Larry Vettel joins Gator Country as columnist

Gator Country is pleased to announce that Larry Vettel, who has covered Gator sports since Doug Dickey's firing more than two decades ago, will be joining us at Gator Country as a columnist. Larry will write two weekly columns focusing on all aspects of Gator sports with an emphasis on Florida football. He won't be "breaking stories," but instead offering his unique insight and perspective on the state of the Gators and the performances of Gator players, coaches, and administrators.

"I'm very excited to have Larry join us at Gator Country. He's been covering the Gators for so long that he'll undoubtedly bring great insight to our readers," said Raymond Hines, publisher of Gator Country. "Larry understands the kind of passion our fans here have for the University of Florida and with everything going on today in Gator sports, he's perfect to share his knowledge and thoughts with us."

Larry has been no stranger to Gator Country and is one of the few media personalities who actually understands and embraces the internet age in sports coverage. He's referred to Gator Country as the voice of the Gator fans. "I have been a long time reader of Gator Country, but never posted on the site because I believe it is the fans' site. This new connection will allow me to offer my views on all things Gator while still enjoying the jousting that makes Gator Country so special," said Larry.

He added, "I believe the Florida Gators are at an important crossroads in 2004-05 with the stability of the football program in question and the Gators trying to get back to their elite status among the nation's football programs. Additionally, Florida basketball looks to show the program has not levelled off and Gator baseball yearns to take the next step. I don't know if there has been a more fascinating start to a Gator Sports year since the fall of 1990."

Larry brings a wealth of experience as most of you invariably know by now. He is a 1981 graduate of the University of Florida and has attended every coaching change news conference at UF in the past 25 years. He also hosted the popular Dial-A-Score post-game show from 1979 through 1996.

In 1989, Larry began the first daily sports talk show in Gainesville, Sportscene on WRUF-AM 850 and hosted the show continuously through June of 1998. He later left the local radio airwaves in December of 2002 for a much-needed break and he will return to radio this fall with a weekly show on Gainesville's top-rated station WSKY-FM 97.3. It'll air Sundays from 6:00 - 8:00 beginning August 1st.

Larry is often seen broadcasting Gator games on Sunshine Network, also co-hosts the GatorZone program with James Bates and does feature stories on Gator football for Sunshine's Bubba Burger TailGate Saturday. Larry will also be writing a monthly column in Fightin' Gators Magazine beginning with the September issue in which he will attack the BCS system.

Larry, in addition to writing columns for Gator Country, will also take part in periodic chats and Q & A sessions with Gator Country subscribers and will be available for direct questions as well. It'll be a great opportunity for you to get the real inside scoop on the Florida Gators as part of Gator Country's constant quest to provide the very best online coverage to the fans.

"Ray and everyone at Gator Country have done a phenomenal job with the growth of this site and I look forward to helping it build in the future," said Larry.

Look for Larry's first column for us tomorrow in which he opines on the number of football programs in the state and how it is counterproductive, along with various tidbits.

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