Neigborhood association: It's Haile to the champs


Published: Friday, January 12, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 10:20 p.m.

In a small — but grandiose — neighborhood called Fairhaven in Haile Plantation, Greg and Natalie Snodgrass do the typical neighborly things with the few people who live along their street.

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AARON DAYE/The Gainesville Sun

But when two of your four neighbors happen to be college coaches with national championships to their credit, a simple neighborly gesture becomes a little more special.

"I just think it's been exciting ever since they moved in," said Natalie Snodgrass.

The Snodgrasses live two doors down from University of Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan and his family and are directly across the street from football coach Urban Meyer.

The Fairhaven community, which is gated, has only five houses, plus two vacant lots, and the Snodgrasses said it is a little strange when almost half of your neighbors are national celebrities.

"As neighbors, we probably have more contact with Shelley Meyer and Christine Donovan," Greg Snodgrass said. "I think the head coaches are just so busy in season with the practice and games, and out of season they're so busy in recruiting. So they don't show themselves that much."

But it's not uncommon for either of the coaches to have a team get-together at their home, and Greg said it's quite a production when the entire football team is parked along their street.

"Shelley Meyer is always very thoughtful," Greg said. "Anytime they have a big party with the football players, she's very conscious of the fact that it could interfere with us getting in or out of our driveway. Many times she'll bring over cookies or treats after the party to say, 'Thanks for putting up with us.'"

Natalie said Shelley Meyer is the lawn mower in the family and that Shelley once told her it was like therapy. Billy Donovan will occasionally pop by to shoot some hoops with the Snodgrasses' sons, and Greg said when he does see Billy or Urban, it's usually when they are going for a run.

Greg also said he understands why the coaches wanted to live in a gated neighborhood.

"A testament to that is when the gate's not working, we get a lot of drivers-by that are curious and want to see where Coach Meyer or Coach Donovan lives," he said.

Haile Plantation developer Bob Rowe said he's not sure why the coaches chose Haile for their homes, but he is proud they did.

"I'm honored that they live in Haile Plantation," Rowe said. "And I think both Billy and Urban and their families represent everything we want our community to be about."

Alice Wallace can be reached at 374-5036 or alice.wallace@gvillesun.com

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