Thursday, May 14, 2020

Gone, Lost & Forgotten: Their Best = Florida

When Swede Umbach of Auburn had the idea to bring wrestling to the SEC (South Eastern Conference) one of the first schools to jump on board were the Gators of Florida.   Starting wrestling in the 1969-1970 season, Florida had success from the get go.  In the SEC, the Gators won the 1976 championship, finishing as the runner-up in 75', 77', 78' & 79'.   They also won the All Florida Championship (believe it or not this at one time consisted of about 16 teams!) in both 1972 & 1973.

As to why Florida Gator wrestling came to an end after the 1978-1979 season, there's a story that I've ran across more than once during my study of dropped wrestling programs.  ---->Allegedly<---- Charlie Pell, not a fan of wrestling, used Title IX as an excuse to ax the wrestling program to free up extra money for football scholarships.  Whether this is true or not, I do not know. It's been what I've been told on more than one occasion.

Tim Granowitz
141 lbs
A two time section VIII champion from Massapequa, New York Granowitz was a three time NCAA qualifier for the Gators in 73', 75' & 77'.

Henry Jackson
190 lbs
A state champion out of Miami-Carol City high school, Jackson began his collegiate wrestling career at NJCAA powerhouse Miami-Dade where he was a two time qualifier.   Wrestling for the Gators he'd qualify for the NCAA Division I championships in 1974 & 1975.  He later coached at Chaminade-Madonna high school.

Paul Bruns
167 lbs 
Bruns was a two time NCAA qualifier for the Gators in 1976 & 1977

Mike Picozzi
118 lbs 
A two time NCAA qualifier for the Gators in 77' & 78', Picozzi transferred to Iowa State after Florida cut wrestling in 1979. Competing for the Cyclones he placed fifth at the NCAA championships in 1980.

Post college Picozzi coached at Longwood in New York.   You may have heard of some of the wrestlers he lead to success.  John Lange & Kerry McCoy who both went on to stellar success at Penn State as well as Nick Hall of Old Dominion (a program we lost earlier this season).

Art Haberman
126, 134 lbs 
Haberman was a two time NCAA qualifier for the Gators in 77' & 78'

Jeff Cutler
158 lbs 
A graduate of Palmetto High, Cutler was a two time NCAA qualifier in 1977 & 1978.   We unfortunately lost Cutler when he passed away this past September.

Brian Gaffney
190 lbs
Gaffney was a two time NCAA qualifier  for the Gators in 78' & 79'

Bill Teutsch
177 lbs
Originally from New Jersey, Teutsch a three time NCAA qualifier became the Gators only All American when he took fifth place honors at the 1978 NCAA championships as a junior.

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