Businessman Charles Hilty is credited with conceiving the Gator Bowl. A group of four, including Hilty, put up $10,000 to finance the first Gator Bowl in 1946. It could hardly be deemed a success, as just 7,362 fans came to Fairfield Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., to see Wake Forest defeat South Carolina 26-14.
Two years later, despite the fact that neither of the first two Gator Bowls sold out, the stadium was expanded and renamed "Gator Bowl Stadium." The next year, in 1949, the bowl's future was secured, when 32,939 fans watched Clemson beat Missouri 24-23 on a late field goal from Jack Miller.
• In 1955, the Gator Bowl became the first bowl game to be televised nationally. Fans across the country saw Vanderbilt upset Auburn 25-13 on CBS.
• Despite its multitude of successes, the Gator Bowl experienced some tragedy in 1963. After a post-Gator Bowl party, the Hotel Roosevelt in Jacksonville caught fire, killing 22 people. It was determined the party had nothing to do with the fire. Still, this unfortunate coincidence is still linked with the game.
• Ohio State coach Woody Hayes had always been known as having a bit of a temper. In the 1978 Gator Bowl, that temper was shown off in front of a big audience. Clemson nose guard Charlie Bauman had just picked off OSU quarterback Art Schlichter. After Bauman ran the ball out of bounds on the Buckeyes' side of the field, Hayes hit Bauman with his forearm. Clemson won the game 17-15 and Hayes was fired before he even left Jacksonville.
• Bobby Bowden coached his final game in the bowl. A Gator-Bowl record crowd of 84,129 saw Bowden carried off the field after his Florida State Seminoles defeated West Virginia 33-21.
|1946||Wake Forest||26||South Carolina||14|
|1947||Oklahoma||34||North Carolina State||13|
|1951||Wyoming||20||Washington & Lee||7|
|1961||Penn State||30||Georgia Tech||15|
|1963||North Carolina||35||Air Force||0|
|1965||Georgia Tech||31||Texas Tech||21|
|1967||Florida State||17||Penn State||17|
|1976||Notre Dame||20||Penn State||9|
|1982||Florida State||31||West Virginia||12|
|1984||Oklahoma State||21||South Carolina||14|
|1985||Florida State||34||Oklahoma State||23|
|1997||North Carolina||20||West Virginia||13|
|1998||North Carolina||42||Virginia Tech||3|
|1999||Georgia Tech||35||Notre Dame||28|
|2000||Miami (Fla.)||28||Georgia Tech||13|
|2002||Florida State||30||Virginia Tech||17|
|2003||NC State||28||Notre Dame||6|
|2005||Florida State||30||West Virginia||18|
|2007||West Virginia||38||Georgia Tech||35|
|2010||Florida State||33||West Virginia||21|
|Two games played in 1960, the first on Jan. 2, the second on Dec. 30. No game played in 1959. Two games also played in 1965, on Jan. 2 and Dec. 31. No game played in 1964. Two games were also played in 1971, on Jan. 2 and Dec. 31, with no game played in 1970. Other years with duplicate games were 1989 and '91, with no games played in 1988 or '90.|