Florida Football: Top 3 Head Coaches of All Time

Cole DolanCorrespondent IIIJune 17, 2012

Florida Football: Top 3 Head Coaches of All Time

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    Florida Gators football is one of college football's most prestigious programs.

    With three national championships, eight SEC Conference championships, 42 first-round draft choices and three Heisman Trophy winners, that simply can't be denied.

    There have been 23 head coaches of the Florida Gators in the school's 106-year history, three of which have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

    Some coaches have obviously had more success than others—we're looking at you Ron Zook—but which Gators coaches are made the cut into the top three of all time?

Ray Graves 1960-1969

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    Ray Graves brought consistent success to Gainesville, a first for the Florida football program.

    Graves brought home the first bowl win and the school's first Heisman Trophy winner when Steve Spurrier won the award in 1966—a year that also saw the Gators reach their first Sugar Bowl.

    Ironic, considering Graves was born in Knoxville, graduated from the University of Tennessee, and was a football captain during his time as a Volunteer.

    Although Graves notched an impressive 70 wins, most fans more fondly remember it being a time when the sports drink Gatorade was developed.

Urban Meyer 2005-2010

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    It was the peak of the Florida Gators football program as fans knew it.

    Two national championships in three years with a Heisman winner squeezed in between and the Gators were a win away from heading to another national championship, sending out beloved quarterback Tim Tebow with a bang.

    Then the Gators forgot to show up to the 2009 SEC Championship game against Alabama.

    It ended in a 13-31 loss for the Gators.

    But it was more than just a loss.

    Urban Meyer would soon take a leave of absence before returning for a mediocre season only to quickly "retire" thereafter.

    Meyer brought Gainesville the most success it had ever seen but ultimately he spurned Gator Nation when he got out of dodge at the first sign of trouble.

Steve Spurrier 1990-2001

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    Steve Spurrier put the Florida Gators on the national stage.

    Florida football had been around for 83 seasons and there wasn't a conference championship to show for it.

    The "Head Ball Coach" changed that.

    Since Spurrier became the head coach in 1990 the Gators have been the winningest program in the NCAA.

    After losing their first SEC Championship game to Alabama in 1992, the Gators won four straight and claimed their first national championship in 1996 behind Heisman Trophy Winner Danny Wuerffel.

    Spurrier put Florida on the map with his high-flying offense, making the Gators a "brand" in college football and revolutionizing the defensive-minded SEC.

    While great things were achieved under Spurrier, his success set the stage for all of the success to come.

    Gators fans will never forget that, no matter which rival SEC team he coaches.

    Well, almost any rival...