Gator volleyball deserves respect from the media

Published: Saturday, January 3, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 11:24 p.m.

Is UF's volleyball coach Rodney Dangerfield? You'd think so, because the program "Don't get no respect" either.

We know it's not football, basketball or any of the other great sports played at the University of Florida, but I challenge any of them to match the consistency of play, trips to the final four and the SEC titles earned by these women.

Coach Mary Wise, the assistants and the girls have been breaking records year after year. Mary excels as the number one woman in a sport mostly controlled by men. She and the girls really had them sweating at this year's volleyball championship in Texas against USC.

This team gets very little column space and usually shares the back pages with another sport, accompanied by a couple of old mug file photos dug up out of the archives. Never any play action pictures of the girls that made it happen - even when they play home.

It was only when they got to the final four this year did we find information starting on the front page. It was a welcome change for us who know and love the sport.

They set another record there by coming in runner-up, number two in the country, an accomplishment never attained by a female coach in this country and a team that will never give up until they are number one. They flew into the Gainesville airport at 1:30 a.m. after achieving their prestigious standing, and the only ones who were there to greet, honor and thank them for their devotion to UF sports were seven people, including myself and my wife. There was no media coverage of any kind.

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