Florida Athletics
Ray Graves

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Former Florida coach and athletic director Ray Graves, who helped the Gators reach national prominence in the 1960s, has died at 96.

The school says Graves died early Friday in the Tampa area.

Former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, who won the 1966 Heisman Trophy under Graves, calls his college coach “a tremendous influence on my life.

Spurrier says besides his parents, Graves “had the biggest influenced on my life.” Spurrier spoke to Graves on Thursday and “had a chance to tell him I love him.”

Florida went 70-31-4 in 10 seasons under Graves, including a 9-1-1 mark in 1969.

Graves spent the next 20 years as the school’s athletic director, helping usher in the Title IX era and creating plans to build the O’Connell Center.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.