#20 Charley Pell ----- In some ways Pell belongs in the top ten, maybe the top five, but the many NCAA violations and subsequent probation cannot be ignored. Pell's great contribution to Florida football came in his ability to get the most powerful and influential alumni to unite behind a single purpose. Pell inherited a team that had far more characters than it had character. He cleaned house, established a work ethic and put together one of the most talented teams in school history (1984). I'll always believe that if Charley knew the depth of faith people had in him and the patience they were willing to show, things would have played out much differently.
#19 Mimi Ryan ----- The first golf coach the Lady Gators ever had, Ryan turned out to be a great hire over more than two decades at the helm. Mimi Ryan's teams finished in the top eight in 21 straight National Championship Tournaments and won the NCAA title in 1985 and '86. Her teams also claimed eleven Florida State Championships and six SEC Titles under her leadership. Mimi gets extra credit with me because she was the most direct, honest coach I ever interviewed and minced no words in blasting her team when they deserved it.
#18 Richard Giannini ----- He's one name on this list many or most of you will not recognize, but you should know about him. Richard Giannini was ahead of him time in the marketing of college athletics and boldly took the Gators into prominence in that area. He built the Gator Radio Network and dramatically improved the quality and coverage of the coaches' TV shows. Giannini is currently the Athletic Director at Southern Mississippi.
#17 Bob Stoops ----- Steve Spurrier had won a lot of games in his first six years coaching the Gators, but after giving up 62 points to Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl something had to change. Defensive Coordinator Bobby Pruett got the head coaching job at Marshall and following Jeremy Foley's suggestion, Spurrier brought Stoops on board. Four defensive touchdowns opening day 1996 made it clear Florida had brought in a special guy. Stoops' defenses rarely had bad days and in '98 the Gators did not allow any opponent to score more than two offensive touchdowns. After three years, Stoops was off to Oklahoma where rumor has it he's done pretty well.
#16 Jamie McCloskey ----- Florida's Associate Athletic Director for Compliance might have the toughest job on campus. He not only has to know the 35,000 page NCAA manual, he has to double check on all the coaches to make sure they are following the rules. That means sometimes sounding more like a prosecutor than a co-worker. Still McCloskey does it superbly and is a big reason the Gators have not had any NCAA issues in his 15 years on campus. After a major investigation in 1983-84 and another pair of NCAA inquiries in 1989-90 the Gators needed to score big when they brought McCloskey on board and they did.
Still to come, the 15 best Gator hires in the past 30 years.