Ex-NFL receiver Jabar Gaffney, MLB pitcher Marc Valdes inducted into UF Athletics Hall of Fame

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jabar Gaffney is shown on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee on Nov. 11, 2012 in Miami. Gaffney played for Florida from 2000 to 2001. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Former NFL wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and Major League Baseball pitcher Marc Valdes were among eight former Gators and one honorary letter winner inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame this week.

UF Athletic Hall of Fame inductees are chosen by the F Club Committee based on three categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners, and Honorary Letterwinners.

Gaffney, out of Jacksonville Raines High School, was a wide receiver for the Gators from 1999-2001 under Steve Spurrier, appearing in 24 games with 20 starts. He finished his career with 138 catches for 2,274 yards and 27 TD catches.

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Gaffney is the only player in UF history to record back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons and is the last player to record a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2001. He was taken in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans and went on to play 10 seasons with six different NFL teams.

Valdes pitched for Florida from 1991-93 and still holds the school record for most wins (31). Currently the pitching coach for the St. Lucie Mets, he went 31-13 with a 3.13 career ERA and 351 strikeouts, which ranks second on UF’s all-time list.

After helping pitch Florida to a College World Series appearance in 1991, Valdes spent two more seasons at UF before being selected 27th overall in the first round of the MLB Draft by the Florida Marlins in 1993. He made his MLB debut in August 1995 and pitched six years in the big leagues with the Marlins, Montreal Expos, Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves.

The Hall of Fame induction banquet will take place on Oct. 6, prior to UF’s home game with Vanderbilt. Here’s a look at Florida’s remaining inductees:

Kelsey Bruder, Softball, 2008-11

An outfielder, Bruder batted .387 in her career, with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs. She was the 2011 SEC player of the year and 2011 Honda Sports Award recipient for softball, given to the nation’s top softball athlete. The Gators reached the Women’s College World Series in all three years that Bruder was on the team.

Omar Craddock, Men's Track & Field, 2010-13

Omar Craddock earned multiple national titles during his time at Florida. Craddock was a seven-time All-American, winning the 2012 Indoor NCAA Triple Jump Title and was the back-to-back Outdoor Triple Jump National Champion in 2012 and 2013. He holds the fifth best mark in school history in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump.In 2010, Craddock helped the Gators men's team to its first Indoor National Championship and first SEC Outdoor Championship since 1987. Two years later, he swept the SEC titles in the men's indoor and outdoor triple jump.

Lauren Embree, women’s tennis, 2010-13

Embree owned an .880 singles winning percentage and .935 winning percentage in dual-match singles, the third and second-best marks in UF history, respectively. Between singles and doubles, Embree collected 236 total wins, putting her fifth in program history.

In addition to helping lead the Gators to the 2011 and 2012 NCAA titles, Embree was named the 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Player of the Year while garnering five All-American honors.

Corey Hartung, Gymnastics, 2006-09

A four-time All-SEC selection, Hartung won 58 titles, with the majority coming in the balance beam and floor exercise. Her 2008 Southeastern Conference balance beam win was the first for the Gators in nine seasons. Hartung earned All-America honors each of her four seasons, totaling 10 for her career. 

Kelly Murphy. Volleyball, 2008-11

Murphy was a dual-threat on the court for the Gators in both her setting and hitting abilities and because of that, the Wilmington, Ill., native was the first Florida volleyball player to earn four AVCA All-American honors during her career.

While at Florida, she was named SEC Player of the Year, AVCA National Freshman of the Year and was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior Class Award.

Erika Tymrak, Soccer, 2009-12

A midfielder, Tymrak scored 32 goals during her Gator career that included three SEC titles. Her 40 career assists also rank third all-time in school history.

She was a three-time, All-SEC first-team selection and earned SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2012.

 Skip Foster, Men's & Women's Swimming & Diving, 1981-1995 (honorary letterwinner)

Foster accumulated an 18-4 record overall in two years as the head men's swimming coach from 1990-92, winning two SEC Titles in that span. He was the 1991 SEC and NCAA Men's Coach of the Year, and earned the Bill Harlan Spirit Award in 2011, exemplifying a genuine commitment to the UF swimming program.Following his coaching career, Foster worked 21 years with the University Athletic Association until his retirement in 2016 and continues to stay involved with athletic events at UF in his retirement.