Feeling Peckish

By Jeff Lippman - February 12, 2007

I am wondering if Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley reads this blog...

In an earlier entry on the current situation in Gainesville with Gators coach Carolyn Peck, I wrote that Peck needed to turn things around rather quickly or she might be earning a one-way ticket out of Title Town.

With the Gators firmly entrenched in last place in the SEC at 0-11 in the coference and an equally terrible 6-20 season record, the Florida braintrust decided it didn't want to wait any longer to make some changes to its struggling women's basketball program.

Florida President Bernie Machen told trustees Monday, according to a Gainesville Sun report, that Peck will not be retained as coach of the Gators next season.

Peck will have the opportunity to finish out the season with the team if she so chooses.

A University of Florida press conference will be held later Monday to announce the changes.

Peck was supposed to be the savior for a shocked Florida team that had its legendary coach, Carol Ross, step down unexpectedly in 2002.

The former Purdue coach had just led her Boilermakers to a national championship and was one of the hottest coaches in the sport when Florida hired her.

Five years into her tenure in Gainesville and Peck just hasn't produced the results Gator Nation was looking for, especially on the heels of the Gators triumphs in men's basketball and football.

Her career record is solid at 126-85, but her record at UF is shaky at best. At 69-74, Peck has severely underachieved during her time as a Gator.

A once promising looking Gators women's basketball team has essentially crumbled around Peck's feet.

In 2003, Peck took over a terrible Florida squad and finished her first season 9-19. Florida then landed some quality recruits along with some remaining talent and the Gators surprised the following season finishing 19-11 and losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Big things were expected from the Gator program from that point, whether expectations became too lofty or not, what happened simply was unacceptable at Florida.

In 2005 the Gators unexpectedly finished 14-15, only to bounce right back the next season, finishing with Peck's best record as a Gator, 21-8 and a first-round loss in the tournament.

Again, big things were expected. Alas, they never came, as Florida has gone from bad to worse to abysmal this season. The 21-8 record of last year has turned into 6-20 and the Florida faithful were forced to make a change.

As far as who is being rumored to take Peck's place as the next head coach at Florida, one name being tossed around is current Auburn coach, Nell Fortner.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 01:17 PM on February 12, 2007

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