The University of Florida is represented in softball by the Florida Gators’ softball team. Florida is a member of the NCAA. And the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in Division I. (SEC). Coach Tim Walton oversees the Gators, who play their home games at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium on the university’s Gainesville, Florida campus.
There have been two WCWS national titles, nine SEC regular season championships, five SEC tournament championships, and eleven WCWS appearances by the Florida Softball team during the last 26 years.
This is all you need to know about their team’s history in the softball game and how they helped give new exposure to this sport.
Overview Of Their History
The Ray period was from 1997 until 2000.
A women’s softball team was added to the University of Florida’s sports program on June 13, 1995, by the University Athletic Association’s board of directors. Against the Stetson Hatters on February 8, 1997, the Gators played their first two games in a doubleheader, which they won both times. As of September 4, 1995, Larry Ray has committed to take over as head coach and lead the club through the first three years of its existence.
At its inception, the Florida Softball program had a 42–25 overall record and a 16–8 record in the Southeastern Conference. Ray’s team finished as the runner-up in the conference tournament, losing to the second-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks in the championship game.
Ray’s team had a successful inaugural season. In 1998, the Florida Gators won their first-ever SEC regular season title and advanced to the NCAA tournament after a successful inaugural season. After the 2000 season, Ray returned to the University of Arizona, where he had previously served as an assistant coach for the Arizona Wildcats softball team.
The Johns period spanned the years from 2001 through 2005
Karen Johns took Ray’s position as the show’s new host in 2001. Florida was a four-time NCAA Tournament participant under Johns’ guidance and had a 192-131 record during her time in Gainesville. Coach Johns was dismissed after the Gators finished last in the SEC Eastern Division for the fourth year in a row and after the team lost four straight games both in SEC tournament play and in the first round of the NCAA tournament that year.
During the Walton administration (2006-present),
Tim Walton, the former head coach of Wichita State’s softball team, was chosen by Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley as the Gators’ new coach to replace Johns. The Florida softball team has developed into a perennial SEC and national championship challenger under Walton’s leadership. In 2014, the Gators beat Alabama to win their first national championship; in 2015, they beat Michigan to win their second national championship.
The World Series of 2008 was held in Chicago.
In his third season as head coach of the Gators, he guided the team to an NCAA single-season record of seventy victories and five defeats. They also appeared in the WCWS following a 2-0 win over California in the Gainesville Super Regional of the NCAA tournament.
Gators won three consecutive games over Virginia Tech Hokies and Texas A&M Aggies after falling to Louisiana Lafayette in the first round of the WCWS. A win against Texas A&M in the WCWS semifinals was not enough to get the Gators into the WCWS championship finals because of the NCAA Tournament’s double elimination system.
The Aggies won the 1–0 win in the ninth inning of the second semifinal game after a scoreless second inning. Stacey Nelson, a pitcher for the Florida Gators, set school records in wins (47), strikeouts (363), innings thrown (352.1), and earned run average in 2008. (0.75).
World Series of 2009
The Gators entered the 2009 season as the nation’s top-ranked team in the major college softball polls, but they ended second after losing the best-of-three final championship series in the 2009 Women’s College World Series to the Washington Huskies 8–0 and 3–2. The Gators finished the season with a 26-1 record in the SEC and a 63–5 overall record. 86 home runs, 12 grand slams, 39 total shutouts, and 39 consecutive shutouts are just some of the single-season team records they set (11).
Florida’s pitching staff pitched three no-hitters during the regular season. Aja Paculba established the single-season stolen base record with 27, and Francesca Enea broke the lifetime home run record with 41. As a senior, Nelson was awarded the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and was selected SEC Pitcher of the Year for the second year. Brombacher, Enea, Kelsey Bruder, and Paculba were also chosen for the All-American second team, while Nelson was named to the first team.
The World Series of Baseball in 2010
Another NCAA tournament berth and a trip to the 2010 WCC World Series awaited the Florida softball team in 2010. The UCLA Bruins, the eventual winners in 2010, easily trounced the fourth-seeded Gators 16–3 in Game 1 of the 2010 Finals. The Gators bounced back to beat the Missouri Tigers 5–2 before losing 3–2 to the Georgia Bulldogs and being knocked out of the tournament.
World Series of 2011
Florida had a roller-coaster season in 2011 but returned to win the SEC Eastern Division for the fourth time in a row. The Gators progressed to the 2011 Women’s College World Series after losing to Auburn in the opening round of the SEC tournament. Florida beat Alabama twice in the World Series semis, 16–2 and 9–2, to go to the finals. In the best-of-three championship finals, the Arizona State Sun Devils defeated the Florida Gators 14–4 and 7–2.
NCAA Championships in 2012
Before the NCAA Tournament began, three of the team’s members were let go: Cheyenne Coyle, Sami Fagan, and Kasey Fagan, all of whom were seniors. The 5th Florida was eliminated from the WCWS for the first time under Walton’s leadership after suffering losses to Florida Gulf Coast and the University of South Florida in the Regionals.
World Series of 2013
Second-placed Florida fell 2–9 to Tennessee in the first round of the WCWS, despite capturing both SEC regular season and tournament championships. They ended their season with a 0–3 loss to Texas after beating Nebraska in extra innings by a 9–8.
National Champions of 2014
With tournament MVP Hannah Rogers in the circle, Florida defeated Alabama to win their first national title in women’s gymnastics.
The 2015 National Championships
Florida became just the third team in collegiate softball history to win back-to-back national titles, led by USA Softball Collegiate Player Lauren Haeger. Their victory in the best-of-three series came in the last game when they beat Michigan 4–1. The following year, Lauren Haeger won the Honda Award.
World Series of 2017
For the third year, Florida was ranked first in the NCAA tournament. First-seeded Florida made it to the finals in 2017 after failing to advance in 2016. The No. 10 seed, Oklahoma, faced Florida in the finals. In the first-ever 17-inning WCWS softball game, Oklahoma prevailed against Florida. Oklahoma went on to win the 2017 WCWS despite a 4-5 loss to Florida the next day, probably due to fatigue.
The Gator softball team representing Florida has had a rich and golden history that every softball fan should know, and the above information gives a detailed insight into this history. So these are a must-know for every softball enthusiast.