The Trackmen Archives
TALES from YON HALL
circa 1966 - 1995.
Hugo Miller in front of Yon Hall circa 2011
University of Florida. Gainesville, Florida. Yon Hall was the dormitory for the male athletes. Yon Hall was named after sportman Colonel Everett Marion Yon. It was built between 1966 - 1967. It had approximately 112 rooms. Many stories can be told about this athletic structure. The dormitory was closed in 1995 and exist today as a University of Florida department. Here are a few stories...enjoy
I arrived at Yon Hall in fall of 1979. I saw a glimpse of it on my earlier recruiting tour. Come to think of it I had not teammate to show me around University of Florida campus. It was strictly the coaches: Tommie Turner, John Creer and David Johnston. I had lunch in Yon Hall’s cafeteria. I remember the first guys who showed me around Yon Hall when I first arrived were the basketball player Bobby VanNoy and Ken McCranney, because they lived next door. I stayed on the 3rd before I was moved up onto the 4th floor with the other Trackteam.
The set up was as follow. The first floor was the lounge, laundry room, ticket offices and some offices. The entire 2nd floor was football. Most of the 3rd floor was football and baseball and on the small northern wing was basketball. The 4th floor was Track, Baseball, Swimming, Tennis, Golf etc. If my memory serves me well.
I remember I had brought all these standard twin sheets sets just to find out they do not fit dorm room beds. So I had to double them up until my money came in. My first roommate was a high jumper from Lake Worth, Florida whose names was Sylvester (?). I remember he stayed about a semester before he was gone. My second roommate was Jerry Smith, a half basketball and half track scholar. I believe he was from Daytona Beach, Florida. I remember we use to have some verbal confrontation because he like sleeping with the radio on, and I couldn’t sleep. I finally convinced him to sleep with headphones. Jerry lasted about awhile before he was gone. I was amazed that he lasted that long because his day use to start about 5:00am, basketball practice and 3:00pm track practice. He was running from 5:00am to 5:00pm.
My final roommate was the All American/ Olympian Jamaican Sensation: Kenneth “Kenny” Gray. I use to get a kick out of him because Kenny use to cook full dinners in that small space called our study area. I remember, but I never told him, that when I use to get back from track practice Ken had the 4th floor smelling like curry home-cooked dinner.
I remember as a freshman and sophomore it was mandatory to attend study hall on the 2nd floor between 7:00 - 8:00pm. This was the time I hated. I remember we were in their with the tobacco chewing baseball players and the smell of fod (fart), because this was right after dinner. I remember trying to find a way to get out of it and it came when one day a either baseball player or football player brought a rattlesnake in there. Everyone panicked. I remember not showing up after that, and thinking that I would be called out, but nothing happened and a lot of other started ditching study hall. That was the end of study hall.
I remember I was one of the few on the track team who have a car, however I had to park in the freshman area, way down by the track. A long distance to walk. It was a orange and black Honda with the words Honda written on the side. It definitely stood out. So, I tried to sneak park it closer to the dorm. I got only a few tickets but I remember some of my track mates would notify me about the parking police. I would make a mad rush down 4 flights of stairs to move my car.
I remember that on football home games days, we use to try and get out of Yon Hall, because the noise of the stadium would be so loud you couldn’t study or watch TV. I also remember, before the O’Connell center was built how we use to be awaked about 4-5:00am in the morning by the swim team practicing. They practiced in the pool directly in front of Yon Hall. I also remember we had floor monitors, who use to check up on us. I remember we use to sneak girls in and out of Yon Hall, The True Gator Getters.
Yon Hall built some good relationship. I revisited it 30 years later, 2011, to find that it was closed in 1995 as a athletic dorm and is used as a department. Very fond memories that Yon Hall. Lastly I remember how I made a lot of money off of Gator Growl tickets. During this time of year, the ticket offices, located at the bottom of Yon Hall would be crowd with students camping overnight to purchase their Gator Growl tickets. Well one day, during this season as I was walking out to go to class, I notice no line, NO ONE and the box offices were open. I mad a made rush upstairs to get my money and brought about 10 tickets. I then placed a notice on the bulletin board in the Reitz Union for Gator Growl tickets FOR SELL. Within a day I sold those tickets for 10 times they were worth and made the transaction right in front of Yon Hall.
Oh Yes…Very fond memories of Yon Hall.
Before Yon Hall there were the "Athletic Dorms Under The Stadium West Side"in which most of track athletes stayed that had partial or full scholarships.They also housed some football players who were on partial scholarships.Frank Saier, John Morton,Lagotic and myself were on full scholarships.
Lots of funny stories in that dorm!!A couple that come to mind. Scott Hager (all-American 440 IM hurdler) is a dentist and very smart(sometimes I wondered). While the rest of us were busting our butts to stay in school and make our grades to keep our scholarships, Scott was out lining up dates for the weekend. He was also a "great prankster" The Best. One of the nights we were studying for finals
Scott was out on "The Famous Ledge" (this is 2 ft concrete ledge outside the Bldg. that surrounded and connected each room some we could silently sneak out & come into your room after curfew).Scott set delayed fuses @ several locations with cigarettes at different time intervals.When they went off, all he'll broke loose, including hunting down Scott. Of course Scott, was no where to be found, since he had an alibi, library setting up dates. See ,there were several tall trees next to building that we could climb down and return at convenient times.This used to drive the "rental cops" crazy since they could never catch us . Scott was "never apprehended for crimes committed during finals."
That's it for,until the next chapter of Under The Stadium West Hall.