Since 2010, no school has won more than Florida’s 11 Division I men’s track and field championships. With so much success, we created an all-time relay team of Gator men’s track and field greats.
Three relays are currently held at NCAA Championships — the 4x100 meter relay, the 4x400 meter relay and the Distance Medley Relay. But which one fits Florida for an all-time team the best?
For starters, Florida has never won a DMR title in program history, and only three Gators have ever won an individual title in an event further than 400 meters. While the Gators did win the 1992 indoor 4x800 meter relay, that event is discontinued. That leaves the 4x1 and 4x4 as the remaining options.
The Gators haven’t won an indoor 4x4 title, so it’s to the outdoor season for the comparison. Florida has won seven 4x1 titles and seven outdoor 4x4 titles. Entering the 2023 season, the Gators held the collegiate records in both relays. Florida ran faster relay times in both events in 2023 to better its school record, but holds only the 4x4 collegiate record entering 2024.
The decision on which relay best represents the Gators is tough, nonetheless the choice for this all-time relay team is the 4x1. The 4x1 edges out the 4x4 because only seven Florida sprinters have won 400 flat or hurdles individual titles compared to the 10 sprinters who have won individual titles across shorter distances.
That said, let’s get into the all-time team.
The Florida men's track and field all-time relay team
1. Jeff Demps
Out of the blocks in the 4x1 there needs to be an athlete with an elite start. There’s no better indicator of having a fast start than winning three straight 60 meter titles as Florida great Jeff Demps did from 2010-2012. That’s why Demps kicks off this all-time relay team, instead of running anchor as he did for Florida’s 2010 winning 4x1.
Today, Demps may be best known for his appearance in the 2012 Olympics or play on a handful of NFL teams, but his rise to stardom began with the Gators. Demps remains the only Florida athlete to win a national championship in two different sports, winning the 2009 BCS National Championship on the gridiron and four team titles on the track.
Demps was vital to the start of Florida’s reign as a men’s track and field powerhouse, thanks to his 60 meter win. He scored key points for the first-ever Gators track and field title at the 2010 indoor championships. He became one of the rare athletes to win three straight titles in the 60 meters (there’s another Gator a part of that group on this list) and also added the 2010 100 meter title.
2. Bernard Williams
Bernard Williams was one of the first great Florida sprinters of the 21st century. In 2000, Williams won the 100 meter title while also running the second leg of the first place 4x1 relay. Williams later showed off his relay expertise on the second leg at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where he led Team USA to a gold medal in the 4x1.
Clearly, Williams should be considered for the second leg of this all-time relay team. However, his individual 100 meter title in 2000 puts him ahead of anyone else considered for this spot, allowing Williams to bolster this all-time relay.
3. Grant Holloway
During Grant Holloway’s final two collegiate years he ran the third leg of the 4x1 in 15 out of 16 races. That’s where the greatest hurdler in collegiate history and the 2019 Bowerman winner finds himself on this all-time relay team.
THE BOWERMAN: Complete history of the track and field honor
Individually, Holloway brings to the relay three 60 hurdle titles from 2017-2019, three 110 hurdle titles from 2017-2019 and a 2019 60 meter title. For three straight years of his collegiate career, Holloway dominated the hurdles like few others, setting collegiate records in both the indoor and outdoor season. He also long jumped during his Gator career.
If his individual success wasn’t enough, Holloway ran the third leg on Florida’s 2019 NCAA title-winning relay that set a collegiate record at 37.97 seconds. That time stood as the record until 2023.
4. Joseph Fahnbulleh
One thing was for sure when making this list, if Joseph Fahnbulleh was to make the all-time team, he wouldn’t be running out of the lead-off position. Yet, even with his struggles out of the blocks in college, Fahnbulleh remained an elite runner with top-end speed.
Fahnbulleh’s first NCAA title came in 2021 in the outdoor 200 meters. He became the ninth men’s Gator to win back-to-back NCAA outdoor titles in 2022 when he repeated in the 200 meters. In that same 2022 meet, Fahnbulleh also won the 100 meter title, but his most notable performance arguably came in an event he lost in, the 4x1.
Fahnbulleh ran the anchor leg for the Gators and nearly ran down the winning USC team down the homestretch. He ultimately finished 0.03 seconds short in second place, but his close in that race is why he’s the anchor of this Florida Gators all-time 4x1 team.
- Pjai Austin
- Dedric Dukes
- Hugh Graham
- Arman Hall
- Jeremy Hall
- Eddie Lovett
Two of the notable omissions missed out because they ran the same leg throughout their collegiate career. Eddie Lovett ran lead off at every meet of his college career, while Dedric Dukes ran anchor at every meet of his college career.
Elsewhere, Arman Hall ran 4x1s in his college career, but he misses out on the list after being primarily a 400 meter runner. Hugh Graham was another interesting omission after winning NCAA titles in 2013 and 2014 as the second leg. He was the top candidate to take Bernard Williams' spot.