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UF's Shelton, Nesty named to SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice

Special to Gatorsports.com
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The University of Florida's men's tennis head coach Bryan Shelton and men's swimming and diving head coach Anthony Nesty were named their respective sports' representatives on the newly formed Southeastern Conference Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice.

Created in July 2020, the council is comprised of administrators, student-athletes and coaches across all 14 SEC institutions, and will focus on providing guidance through pinpointing resources, strategies and implementation efforts to the promotion of racial equity and social justice.

SEC student-athletes will participate utilizing existing confe­rence football, men's and women's basketball and student-athlete advisory councils (SAAC) to minimize time demands while maximizing student-athlete input. Additionally, racial equity and social justice will be standing agenda items during all leadership and advisory council meetings. Councilors from other panels will participate to share information and learn what questions and concerns exist for student-athletes.

Shelton is entering his ninth season at the helm of the men's tennis program. Most recently, Shelton's Gators won the 2019 SEC crown after posting an overall record of 25-4 overall, highlighted by an undefeated 12-0 conference mark and NCAA Final Four appearance.

Last season, Florida was 15-3 overall and 3-1 in the SEC before the season was cut short due to COVID-19.

"I'm honored to serve on this SEC Council for Racial Equity and Social Justice," Shelton said. "The opportunity for the SEC to lead with action is necessary, and we can and will make a difference. Just remember that we all have a role to play in this movement to make this world a better place for everyone."

The men's swimming and diving team won their eighth-straight and a league-leading 41st overall SEC Championship in Nesty's second season as head coach in 2019-20. In both years, Nesty was named the conference Men's Swimming Coach of the Year, becoming the first head coach in UF history to garner the honor in their first two seasons. In total, he has been a member of the Gator coaching staff since 1998.

Nesty, a 1994 UF graduate and UF Hall of Fame Inductee, is one of the most decorated swimmers in Gators history and has achieved immense success at the international level as a competitor and coach.

At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Nesty earned a gold medal after winning the 100m fly by .01 seconds, the first-ever Olympic medal for his native country of Suriname, and would reel in a bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. His pair of medals still stand as the country's only Olympic hardware.  

Overall, Nesty has coached in three different Olympics, and was recognized as Suriname's flag bearer at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.  

"I am very honored to have been selected by Florida and the SEC Conference to serve on this special council," Nesty said. "I will certainly do my best to contribute in a truthful, thoughtful and meaningful manner. I genuinely hope to offer a respected and trustworthy perspective. I am truly humbled to participate."

Dr. Chris Hass, the Associated Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs at UF, will take part as a member of the Administrative Panel led by SEC Associate Commissioner/Academic Relations Dr. Torie Johnson.

"An important movement has been ignited around the equitable treatment of all underrepresented minorities, and the SEC is determined to be a leader in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting change," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "With the Council as our guide, we will develop an action agenda built on the foundation that all are created equal and ensure this truth echoes across our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states and our nation."

•To begin, the council will concentrate in five areas: 

•Increasing Access and Representation for Underrepresented Minorities

•Providing Enhanced Support for Underrepresented Minorities

•Improving Education on Racial and Social Issues for All Stakeholders

•Deepening Commitments to Local Communities

•Raising Awareness of Racial Inequity and Social Injustice