MAY GOD BLESS
Van Alan Smith
University of Florida 91-96
Coaches: John Webb & Curtis Frye 91-92
John Webb & Ralph Spry 93-95
Doug Brown & Mike Holloway 96
Born May 27, 1973 at Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach Florida. I was always an active child with passions in running and music for as long as I can remember. I attended Mainland Senior High School in Daytona Beach FL. While at Mainland I was an officer in Student Government, Cross Country, both Marching and Concert Band, and Track and Field. I was coached by Earl Jackson in Track and Field. In 1991 I placed 4th in the 110H and 6th in the 300H at the Florida State 4A Track and Field Championships. I won Bronze at the 1991 USA Jr. Olympics and Silver at the AAU Junior Olympics in the 110HH. I graduated with honors in 1991 and was named to Mainland's Principal Sports Hall of Fame as well as earning Volusia County's Honors Award. I left Mainland holding the school records in the 100m (10.5), 200m (21.3), 300IH (37.9) and the 110HH (13.9).
I was recruited by Coach Curtis Frye and enrolled at the University of Florida in the Fall of 1991. As a Freshman I placed 6th (7.60) in the 55m Hurdles at the 1992 SEC Indoor Championships held at the O'Connell Center and was a member of the 3rd place NCAA Indoor Track and Field Team. I also ended indoors with a 200m personal best of 21.88. Outdoors I was a member of the Sprint Medley Relay team along with Marcel Carter, Tyrone Kemp and Scott Peters that set at the time a Florida Relay's record of 3:16.23. At SEC Outdoors, running 3rd on the 4x100 relay along with Ed West, Marcel Carter, and Daryl Frazier we placed 2nd. I finished 4th (14.48) that summer at the TAC Jr. Nationals in the 110HH held in Ohio.
I red-shirted indoors 1993 due to injuries sustained during the 1992 TAC Jr. National hurdle final. I suffered 2 stress fractures to the lower lumbar region of my back and was in a brace for 6 months. Because of the injuries my hurdling career ended with bests of 7.60, 14.48HH, and 52.79IH and I focused on sprinting. Coach Ralph Spry replaced Curtis Frye as the sprint coach that same year. In my first outdoor meet of the year I ran the 2nd leg of the 800 meter relay squad with Daryl Frazier, Ubeja Anderson, and Marcel Carter which set a then school record of 1:22.89 at the Florida Relays. I also set personal bests of 10.40 (100m) and 20.74 (200m) at the 93 SEC Outdoor Championships placing 5th in the latter. I was a semi-finalist in the 200m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships held in New Orleans. In 1994 I set a personal best of 6.36 in the 55m Indoors. At the Florida Relays outdoors I ran a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 20.90, however my season was cut short and I was granted a medical red-shirt after a terrible fall on the curve in the 200m the following week in Miami at the Gatorade Classic. In 1995 I was the recipient of the William W. "Billy" Richardson Memorial Track Scholarship, given to an outstanding Florida junior student-athlete in memory of Richardson, a track star for the Gators in the 1940s. I also received the Multicultural Student Recognition Award for Academic Achievement and Leadership Ability the same year. I ended 1995 as a 100m finalist at the SEC Outdoors. In 1996 Doug Brown (UT 86-95) and Mike Holloway became the Head and Assistant Coaches of the Gator program. I completed my internship with UF's University Athletic Association Operations Department that spring and graduated in May 1996 with a BS in Exercise and Sports Sciences (Sports Management). I ended my career as a Gator at the time as 8th in the 200m and 9th in the 100m on the all-time lists.
After graduating I began working for the University of Florida's Florida Clinical Practice as a Senior Clerk. In December of 1996 I was asked by Gainesville High School Track and Field Head Coach and former Gator All American Scott Peters to assist with sprints and hurdles and took on the role of Assistant Coach in January of 1997. During the 1997 season I coached the GHS 4x100 relay squad to a 2nd place finish at the Florida State 3A Track and Field Championships in a time of 41.37. I also coached at the time future Gator Mike King, 4 time GHS letter winner, in both high and intermediate hurdles. Michael recorded a PR of 37.60 at the state championships held at Percy Beard placing 2nd and notched a 52.42 in the 400 intermediate at the Golden South Meet, clocking the 3rd fastest time in the nation in 1997. He ended his career as a Gator in 2001 at the time ranking 10th all time in the 400IM.
I moved to Jacksonville in 1997 and became the Assistant Coach at Paxon High School the following year, specializing in sprints and hurdles. Paxon's 4x100 team were finalists at the State Championships.
In 1998 I relocated to Atlanta Georgia where I began working for Nextel Communications as a Marketing Operations Specialist. After 2.5 years at Nextel I began working for Nova Information Systems in 2001 as a Business Review Analyst in the Retention Department. Nova became a subsidiary of US Bank in 2002. I was promoted to Business Review Assistant Manager in 2004, and to Business Review Manager of Pricing and Profitability in 2007. After going global in merchant processing in 2008 Nova changed their name to Elavon, Inc. Due to health reasons I was forced to leave Elavon, Inc in 2009. I spent the next 2 years focusing on my health and in 2011, after being out of the arena of sports and fitness for so long I began working with Detox Group Fitness in Atlanta as a Group Fitness Coordinator and doing part-time personal training. I left Atlanta in May 2012, relocated to Florida and I currently reside in Daytona Beach, FL.
University of Florida
Letterman / Trackman
1971 - 1975
Coach Jimmy Carnes
*** ** ***
Sport Track and field
Date of birth 1935
Birthplace Eatonton, Georgia
Date of death March 5, 2011
Over all record 161–11 (.936)
Championships Southern Conference Indoor (1962, 1963)Southern Conference Outdoor (1963, 1963)Southeastern Conference Indoor (1975, 1976)
Awards Georgia Coach of the Year (1957–1962)Florida Sports Hall of Fame (1980)Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (1984)USTFCCCA Hall of Fame (1998)USA Track & Field Hall of Fame (2008)
Team Mercer University
Position BasketballMiddle Distance Runner
Coachteams Druid Hills High SchoolFurman UniversityUniversity of FloridaU.S. Olympic Team (Asst)U.S. Olympic TeamU.S. Track & Field Fed'n (Pres)
Jimmy Carnes (1935 – March 5, 2011) is a former American track and field athlete, coach and administrator. A successful coach at the high school, college and international levels, Carnes compiled a 161–11 career dual meet record, highlighted by four college conference championships and six state high school championships. Carnes was the head coach of the U.S. Olympic track & field team and the Florida Gators track and field team, the founder of the Florida Track Club, and a member of the U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame.
Jimmy Carnes was born in Eatonton, Georgia. He attended Mercer University in Macon, Georgia from 1952 to 1956, where he was a basketball player and middle distance runner for the Mercer Bears track and field team. Carnes dated his future wife, Nanette, a Mercer education major whom he knew from Eatonton while they were undergraduates.
In 1962, Carnes became the head cross country and track and field coach at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Among his many Gators track and field athletes were sixty-five SEC individual champions, four NCAA individual champions and twenty-four All-Americans. including Jack Bacheler, Jeff Galloway, Marty Liquori and Frank Shorter. Carnes recruited fifty-five graduate student-athletes for the Florida Track Club by offering several of them assistant coaching positions and helping many of them obtain graduate assistantships within the university to help continue their graduate studies. At the peak of the running craze, Athletic Attic had over 165 stores in the United States, Canada, Japan and New Zealand with over $40 million in annual revenue. Carnes resigned as the Gators track coach in September 1976 to focus on his Athletic Attic business interests and his Olympic coaching. the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, and the USA Track & Field
Hall of Fame in 2008.
Carnes was married to Nanette Carnes, and they were the parents of three sons and a daughter.
Winfred "Wimpy" Alexander
(b. (?) - March 9, 2012)
University of Florida Track & Field Team
NCAA Mile Relay Team 1975
(Eulogies and bio coming soon)
Rest in Peace
I had the good fortune to work with Wimpy, for what turned out to be too brief a time. He was a true champion as a person, athlete , and team mate. He later carried that over into being and officer and gentleman in the military. Everyone and anyone associated with him is lessened by his passing.
......... Brooks T. Johnson
Wimpy Alexander was my teammate. Tall, powerful and handsome. He was quiet, but disciplined. A great relay runner. Wimpy was a star in an era in which the Gators attracted some wonderful 400 and 800 runners like Beaufort Brown, Noel Gray, Steve Gomez, Bernie Gibson, Horace Tuitt, Mitchell Goings, Bob Rambo, Curt Westphal and Clive Barriffe. Gray, Brown, Tuitt and Alexander combined to win the mile relay at the 1975 NCAA Indoor Championship. It was Florida ’s first ever relay National Championship. Wimpy also played a big part in the Gators first ever SEC Indoor Championship in 1975. That era really began the great tradition of powerful track & field teams at the University of Florida . Wimpy was one of its pioneers. May God bless his soul.
B. 1953 - D. 2015
(born: Tampa, Florida USA 1953)
University of Florida 1971 – 1975 “The Genesis of Champions Era”
Coaches: Jimmy Carnes, Head; Roy Benson, Asst; Dave Atkins,
440 and Relays
I was recruited to the University of Florida's Track Program in 1971, by Head Coach Jimmy Carnes. While in Tampa Florida’s Middleton High School, I played football; was track team captain; and had won Championship titles at the Conference, District, Regional, and State levels. When I was competing in the State of Florida’s Championship meet, Coach Carnes came to watch me run the 440 and the sprint medley relay—both of which I was favored to win. I anchored and won the relay; but when I made the mistake of looking back near the finish line, I lost the 440! As a result, Coach put me on the Gators’ team—but he wouldn’t give me a scholarship until I proved myself. From that point on, I never looked back—either literally or figuratively. My time as a Trackman at the University of Florida was The Best Time of My Life! I made some life-long friends with some great guys. Together, we put UF on the National Track and Field “map”, and we were among UF Track’s pioneers in “The Genesis of Champions” era. Florida’s jumpers, vaulters, and fielders were already soaring, so we runners began the tradition of the “Flat Out Flyin’ Florida Gators!” I loved impressing the fans with my trademark ‘flying’ leap across the finish line. The UF Track Team, several individuals and I became SEC Champions; my mile-relay teammates and I became National Champions; and I enjoyed earning a long list of honors and awards—including being elected team captain for an unprecedented three years! Coach Carnes encouraged me to be a versatile runner by challenging me to run everything from sprints to middle distances (100 – 880 yds)! I clocked some of the fastest times in the world for several events; ran in prestigious invitational meets; qualified for the Olympic Trials; and beat the Russians in the Jr. Olympics, while setting and shattering UF records all along the way! I even managed to make the Dean’s List! One newspaper article proclaimed, “Brown Is Beautiful!” and another nicknamed me, “Bodacious!”
When I arrived at UF, I met my friend and college sweetheart, Barbara Lee, who graduated from UF cum laude. Three years later, we were married; and we now have three adult children—all of whom are honor students and musicians. Older son, Beaufort III—aka “Robb”—has graduated from USF; son Brandon has graduated cum laude from UF; and daughter Briahna is currently a student at UF (Class of 2012).
Four years after arriving at UF, I graduated as an Outstanding Senior. Then, I earned my state insurance license and worked in that area for a few years. Since that time, I have been blessed to work as an educator in the field I love—health, fitness, and physical education. In addition to working in the Florida school system, I have coached track at the high school and college levels; managed swimming programs; and worked with Migrant and Special Olympics. I have been honored by induction into three Halls of Fame. I learned to water-ski—even barefoot! I am an avid student of religious studies and a spiritual teacher. My wife and I recently had a great visit to Mayan lands; so I hope to do more traveling. I enjoy grilling, cooking—and eating—but I still do a little running to stay in shape. *lol*