Tag Archives: Gator Football

Audio Archive Feature: Danny Wuerffel Heisman Profile on NPR’s Morning Edition

Aired on NPR’s Morning Edition on December 13th, 1996

1361998173DW-w-trophy-in-uniform- - Copy(Original Intro) In New York tomorrow (Dec.14th,1996) the Heisman Trophy will be awarded to the nation’s top college football player.  One of the top finalists is Danny Wuerffel, the quarterback from the University of Florida who’s helped the Gators win four consecutive Southeastern conference titles and a place in this year’s Sugar Bowl.  But in his home state of Florida, Danny Wuerffel is known for being much more than just a great football player.  From member station WUFT in Gainesville, Donna Green-Townsend has this profile.

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Danny Wuerffel 1993 to 1996On December 10th, 2013 Danny Wuerffel was named to the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Induction Class.   Voters said he had one of the most impressive records ever compiled.   Wuerffel was the only player in college football history to start at quarterback for a conference champion four straight years — plus win a national title and the 1996 Heisman.  In addition, Wuerffel, a two-time first-team academic All-American, was awarded the Draddy Trophy (also called the “academic Heisman”) presented annually by the College Football Hall of Fame, to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

And then there were his statistics.  In Wuerffel’s career at UF he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 10,875 yards, 114 touchdowns and 42 interceptions in starting 36 of his 46 games.

During Wuerffel’s four seasons, Florida won four-consecutive SEC title games.  As a senior, Wuerffel’s 3,625 yards passing yards were an SEC record.  He also set a national record for his 39 touchdowns.   In his final two games in a Gator uniform, Wuerffel threw for 401 yards and 6 touchdowns to beat Alabama (which at the time was the No. 1-ranked pass defense) for that fourth-straight league crown.   In the Sugar Bowl national championship rematch over rival Florida State, Wuerffel  threw for more than 300 yards and 3 touchdowns (also rushing for a TD) in a 52-20 victory against the top-ranked defense in the country

Danny Wuerffel on his Christmas CD Project to Benefit Desire Street Ministries

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Cover of Danny Wuerffel’s Christmas CD

Aside from football, Danny Wuerffel has dedicated his time to the work of Desire Street Ministries.  Danny produced “Heaven & Nature Sings” Christmas CD to help with the goals of the ministry which is transforming impoverished urban neighborhoods into flourishing, healthy communities.

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Former UF QB Danny Wuerffel honored at UF-TN game

Gator fans gave a warm welcome to former University of Florida Quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel during the UF-TN game on Saturday.  Wuerffel, a member of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Induction Class, sauntered onto the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as the guest celebrity to lead the Orange and Blue in the cheer made famous by “Mr. Two-Bits.”

 

 

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Danny Wuerffel surrounded by Gator fans and friends on the sidelines of the UF-TN game on Saturday

Afterwards, Wuerffel greeted fans on the sidelines before making a second appearance on the field to receive a special award from the University of Florida for being voted into the College Football Hall of Fame for all of his outstanding achievements while playing for the Gator Football Team.

(Listen below  to the original story about Danny Wuerffel as a Heisman contender.  The story aired on NPR’s Morning Edition on December 13th, 1996.)

 

Bronze statue of #7 Danny Wuerffel in front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
(Original story and intro aired on NPR’s Morning Edition on Dec.13th, 1996)

In New York tomorrow the Heisman Trophy will be awarded to the nation’s top college football player.  One of the top finalists is Danny Wuerffel, the quarterback from the University of Florida who’s helped the Gators win four consecutive Southeastern conference titles and a place in this year’s Sugar Bowl.  But in his home state of Florida, Danny Wuerffel is known for being much more than just a great football player.  From member station WUFT in Gainesville, Donna Green-Townsend has this profile.

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Danny Wuerffel 1993 to 1996
Danny Wuerffel – played for the Gators from 1993 to 1996

On December 10th, 2013 Danny Wuerffel was named to the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Induction Class.   Voters said he had one of the most impressive records ever compiled.   Wuerffel was the only player in college football history to start at quarterback for a conference champion four straight years — plus win a national title and the 1996 Heisman.  In addition, Wuerffel, a two-time first-team academic All-American, was awarded the Draddy Trophy (also called the “academic Heisman”) presented annually by the College Football Hall of Fame, to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

And then there were his statistics.  In Wuerffel’s career at UF he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 10,875 yards, 114 touchdowns and 42 interceptions in starting 36 of his 46 games.

During Wuerffel’s four seasons, Florida won four-consecutive SEC title games.  As a senior, Wuerffel’s 3,625 yards passing yards were an SEC record.  He also set a national record for his 39 touchdowns.   In his final two games in a Gator uniform, Wuerffel threw for 401 yards and 6 touchdowns to beat Alabama (which at the time was the No. 1-ranked pass defense) for that fourth-straight league crown.   In the Sugar Bowl national championship rematch over rival Florida State, Wuerffel  threw for more than 300 yards and 3 touchdowns (also rushing for a TD) in a 52-20 victory against the top-ranked defense in the country

Danny Wuerffel on his Christmas CD Project to Benefit Desire Street Ministries

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Aside from football, Danny Wuerffel has dedicated his time to the work of Desire Street Ministries.  Danny produced “Heaven & Nature Sings” Christmas CD to help with the goals of the ministry which is transforming impoverished urban neighborhoods into flourishing, healthy communities.

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Tim Tebow conference call before the Heisman Trophy announcement

Tim Tebow best close view in caseTim Tebow talking with Donna Green-Townsend during a conference call, November 19, 2007 less than a month before the Heisman Trophy was announced:

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Tim Tebow’s apology to Gator fans September 27, 2008:

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Tim Tebow & Urban Meyer 1In this feature, which aired in December of 2009, Tebow shared his thoughts about Coach Urban Meyer’s decision to first step back from coaching for health reasons and then his change of heart.

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Urban Meyer Changes His Mind (12/28/2009)

 (Originally aired on December 28, 2009 on WUFT)

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In late December of 2009, University of Florida Gator Football Coach Urban Meyer stunned Gator Nation when he announced he was stepping down as head coach.  Meyer cited a health scare as the reason.  Gator fans breathed a huge sigh of relief when Meyer changed his mind.  Donna Green-Townsend reports.

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Danny Wuerffel on Rex Grossman (Dec., 2001)

(originally aired on WUFT in December of 2001)

Rex GrossmanSome may say Rex Grossman was robbed of the Heisman Trophy in 2001.  The University of Florida Sophomore quarterback lost to Nebraska senior Eric Crouch by 62 points.  It was one of the smallest margins in the history of the Heisman Trophy.  In the 2001 season Grossman completed 65.6 percent of his passes for a total of 3,896 yards.  He had 34 touchdowns.  Some sportswriters remarked that maybe he didn’t win because he was a sophomore.  Donna Green-Townsend talked with former Heisman winning quarterback, Danny Wuerffel, about his thoughts on Grossman not winning the coveted trophy.

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Rex Grossman 2

 

Doug Johnson Says He’s Committed to Leading the Gators (1997 & 1999)

(Gator Rewind:  sports archive feature originally aired in the Spring of 1999)

t1_johnson_all_01In the spring of 1999 University of Florida QB Doug Johnson found himself in the center of debate.  After winning the National College Football Championship under the leadership of QB Danny Wuerffel, many fans were disappointed in Johnson’s new role as Wuerffel’s replacement.  In 1997 UF Head football coach Steve Spurrier suspended Johnson for the Florida vs. Auburn game for breaking team rules.  Johnson also faced criticism for continuing to play baseball with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Many saw this as a lack of commitment to the football team.  Johnson also suffered a broken left fibula during Florida’s 31-10 win over Syracuse in the Orange Bowl in January of 1999.  As Donna Green-Townsend reported in this 1999 feature, Johnson said he was now prepared to show leadership on the team.

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Tennessee's Peyton Manning
Tennessee’s Peyton Manning
Gator QB Doug Johnson
Gator QB Doug Johnson

In the feature below called, Tale of Three Quarterbacks, Donna Green-Townsend explores the mood going into the November 22, 1997 game between UF and TN after Wuerffel shocked the Volunteers the year before.  Tennessee’s Peyton Manning decided to stay one more year.  UF’s Doug Johnson had to face the unique challenge of following behind Wuerffel’s big year and taking on Manning in the big game.

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Nokia Sugar Bowl
Steve Spurrier talking with QB Danny Wuerffel on the sidelines

Here’s an excerpt of Donna’s interview with Coach Steve Spurrier about UF QB Doug Johnson going into the Tennessee game in November of 1997.

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Here’s the full press conference with Spurrier before the UF-TN matchup.

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Gator Rewind to 1996: Steve Spurrier on Danny Wuerffel’s Heisman and NFL Chances

(originally aired on WUFT December 13th, 1996)

Danny Wuerffel with trophy in caseSteve Spurrier 2 youngIn December of 1996 University of Florida Quarterback Danny Wuerffel was a strong contender for the Heisman Trophy.  It had been 30 years since UF had another player up for the Heisman— young Gator QB Steve Spurrier.  At a 1996 press conference following the Gators 24 to 21 loss to FSU, and just before the Alabama SEC Championship game, Steve Spurrier talked with Donna Green-Townsend and shared his thoughts about his QB Danny Wuerffel’s Heisman chances 30 years after he himself had won the coveted trophy as QB for the Gators.  Spurrier also addressed Wuerffel’s NFL chances.

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Danny Wuerffel signed posterCoach Spurrier also addressed whether he and Wuerffel had any similarities in this Heisman contender profile of Danny Wuerffel produced by Donna Green-Townsend for NPR’s Morning Edition which aired on December 13th, 1996, the day before the official announcement that Wuerffel had won.

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On December 10th, 2013 Danny Wuerffel was named to the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Induction Class.   Voters said he had one of the most impressive records ever compiled.   Wuerffel was the only player in college football history to start at quarterback for a conference champion four straight years — plus win a national title and the 1996 Heisman.  In addition, Wuerffel, a two-time first-team academic All-American, was awarded the Draddy Trophy (also called the “academic Heisman”) presented annually by the College Football Hall of Fame, to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete.

And then there were his statistics.  In Wuerffel’s career at UF he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 10,875 yards, 114 touchdowns and 42 interceptions in starting 36 of his 46 games.

During Wuerffel’s four seasons, Florida won four-consecutive SEC title games.  As a senior, Wuerffel’s 3,625 yards passing yards were an SEC record.  He also set a national record for his 39 touchdowns.   In his final two games in a Gator uniform, Wuerffel threw for 401 yards and 6 touchdowns to beat Alabama (which at the time was the No. 1-ranked pass defense) for that fourth-straight league crown.   In the Sugar Bowl national championship rematch over rival Florida State, Wuerffel  threw for more than 300 yards and 3 touchdowns (also rushing for a TD) in a 52-20 victory against the top-ranked defense in the country

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