GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- University of Florida diving coach Donnie Craine died Thursday morning in a boating accident off the coast of Bokeelia, the school announced.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which is investigating the accident, says two vessels turned in the same direction near Pine Island and collided. Two people were aboard one boat, and four in the other. The others in the crash suffered only minor injuries and did not require treatment.
Craine joined the Gators in 1976 after graduating from Michigan. He left after five years, coached at Schroeder YMCA in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Louisiana State, and returned to Gainesville in 1989.
A four-time Southeastern Conference diving coach of the year, Craine coached five NCAA champions.
“Our thoughts are with Mindy, their family and all who had a chance to know and be coached by him,” said Athletics Director Jeremy Foley. “This is such sad news about Donnie Craine. Donnie loved being a Gator and spent his career here coaching our men’s and women’s diving athletes. He will be missed.”
“You’ll never meet a nicer guy than Donnie Craine,” Head Coach Gregg Troy said. “He was caring for not just the athletes he worked with, but for everyone he came in touch with. He was a tremendous family man. This is a great loss to everyone.”
Thirty of Craine’s 37-year coaching career was spent with the Gators. He started his Gator coaching career in 1976 after graduating from the University of Michigan. Craine left after five years and then coached at Schroeder YMCA in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Louisiana State before returning to Florida in 1989.
A four-time Southeastern Conference Diving Coach of the Year at Florida, Craine coached five NCAA champions, including Florida’s first – Chris Snode in 1978 (3-meter springboard).
Craine is survived by his wife of 36 years, Mindy, and three children - Keith (31), Christopher (30) and Stephanie (26).