Wilkerson, Taylor, Gay highlight 2010 HOF class

By Adam Silverstein
October 15, 2009

Eight former letterwinners, including Gator Greats Brad Wilkerson (baseball), Fred Taylor (football) and Brian Gay (men’s golf), will be inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame 2010 class. The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced the class on Thursday, which will receive their honors at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 9, 2010, in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace.

According to UF, “inductees are divided into three different categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.” The remainder of the induction class includes Gator Greats Leah Kirklin Anderson (women’s track & field), Jenny Manz Theis (volleyball) and Jason Odom (football) and Distinguished Letterwinners Laurie Burns (women’s golf) and William Freeman (men’s track & field).

More about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the jump.

UF defines Gator Greats as “letterwinners who have brought recognition and prominence to the University and to themselves through athletic accomplishments as an undergraduate,” while Distinguished Letterwinners are “letterwinners who have made major contributions to the University’s athletic program through personal time, effort, interest and many years of continued service. They may have also distinguished themselves as exceptional in their chosen field of endeavor.”

Biographies of each 2010 inductee courtesy of GatorZone:

Gator Greats:

Brad Wilkerson – Baseball (1996-98)
Wilkerson was a member of the 1996 and 1998 College World Series teams, a two-time All-American, three-time All-SEC selection and the 1998 Collegiate Player of the Year. He holds career records at Florida for batting average, RBIs, slugging percentage and walks. He played for four Major League Baseball teams from 2001-08 and won a gold medal with Team USA baseball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Fred Taylor – Football (1994-97)
Taylor, a member of the 1996 National Championship football team, was a decorated running back for the Gators. He was an All-American, All-SEC honoree and holds the third-most yardage in Florida history. In 1998, he was a first-round draft pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars and currently plays for the New England Patriots.

Brian Gay – Men’s Golf (1991-94)
A two-time All-American and three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection, Gay was the SEC Individual Champion in 1992 and 1994. He was also a member of the 1993 NCAA National Championship team and is currently ranked 21st in the FedEx Cup Standings on the PGA Tour.

Leah Kirklin Anderson – Women’s Track & Field (1990-93)
In 1992, Anderson won the indoor and outdoor national triple jump title while setting Florida records. Her indoor mark still stands today and her outdoor mark was broken in 2008 and now ranks second all-time. Anderson also took home the indoor event title in 1992 and was a six-time All-American and SEC champion four seasons in a row.

Jenny Manz Theis- Volleyball (1992-95)
A two-time All-American, Theis is one of the most decorated players in Florida history. An opposite hitter, she was a two-time SEC Player of the Year and still ranks third in career kills and points while also co-owning the school record for most kills in a match.

Jason Odom – Football (1992-95)
Odom was an All-American and two-time All-SEC selection who earned the 1995 Jacobs Blocking Award for the SEC’s Premier Blocker. He was also an Outland Trophy Finalist, given to the best lineman in the country. Odom played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2000.

Distinguished Letterwinners:

Laurie Burns – Women’s Golf (1980-84)
Burns achieved All-America and All-SEC status her senior year as a Gator. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her MBA from Florida in 1984 and 1986, respectively. She served on the Gators Boosters Board of Directors from 1998 to 2002, on the Warrnington College of Business MBA Advisory Board since 1995 and on the Board of Directors of the Advisory Board at UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies since 2001. She is currently the president of Bahama Breeze Restaurants.

William Freeman – Men’s Track & Field (1973-76)
Freeman was an All-American pole vaulter, who earned All-SEC honors three times while at UF. He finished fourth at the 1976 NCAA Championships. He has written numerous books and articles on track and field techniques and coaching the sport and produced numerous DVDs on the subjects.

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