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The greatest calls of Mick Hubert’s career as ‘Voice of the Gators’

Tampa Bay Times logo Tampa Bay Times 5/20/2022 Joey Knight, Tampa Bay Times

Naturally, the stunning news of Mick Hubert’s retirement after 33 years as voice of the Florida Gators spawned assorted recollections of his inimitable soundtrack.

It’s a three-decade collection of catchphrases, scene-setting, tonal ebb and flow, and play-by-play spontaneity at its most euphoric.

Of course, determining the greatest calls of Hubert’s career is a subjective endeavor. For many, a favorite Hubert sound bite likely coincides with a favorite Gators victory or highlight. Totally understandable.

We tried to come up with five that have remained indelible, standing the test of time. We now present the list, in honor of the 68-year-old Midwest native whom Steve Spurrier called, “the best play-by-play announcer in Gators sports history.”

5. ‘Gloves go flying in the air!’

Florida 6, LSU 1 (June 27, 2017)

Gators baseball team wins College World Series

The setup: Rangy right-hander Jackson Kowar forced a grounder to second baseman Deacon Liput for the final out of the 2017 College World Series, giving UF its first national title in baseball.

The call: “Bouncing ball, second base. Liput on the outfield grass, throws to first. That’s it, the ball game is all over! Gloves go flying in the air as the fireworks come bursting out of the stands out in the outfield! The dog pile is on to the right of the mound! The Gators heaping on one another!”

4. ‘He’s going to score! He’s going to score!’

Florida 28, Tennessee 27 (Sept. 26, 2015)

Will Grier hits Antonio Callaway for a 63-yard touchdown

The setup: Down by six and facing fourth-and-14 with less than two minutes to play, Grier hit Callaway for 18 yards over the middle. The freshman then spun around and found daylight down the right sideline, capping a 13-point, fourth-quarter rally.

The call: “Snap to Grier. Grier looking, looking, looking, throws the ball. Got a receiver. There’s a catch made on the near sideline. Down the right side, 35, 30, it’ll be Callaway down the sideline. He’s going to score! He’s going to score! He’s going to score! It’s a touchdown! Oh, myy! Oh, myy!”

3. ‘This place is an insane asylum in The Swamp!’

Florida 32, FSU 29 (Nov. 22, 1997)

Dwayne Thomas’ interception seals upset of No. 2 Seminoles

The setup: After driving 80 yards in only three plays for the go-ahead touchdown, the Gators needed a final defensive stand to upset their unbeaten rival. With barely more than a minute remaining, Thomas picked off quarterback Thad Busby on third-and-11 at the FSU 30.

The call: “Dwayne Thomas has picked it off! ... This place is an insane asylum in The Swamp! Oh, my!”

2. ‘I can’t believe what I just saw!’

Florida 26, Tennessee 20 (Sept. 16, 2017)

Feleipe Franks finds Tyrie Cleveland for 63-yard Hail Mary

The setup: A mostly sloppy game came to this surreal ending. The Gators and Vols were tied at 20 with nine seconds to play and the Gators in possession at the UF 37-yard line. Franks called Train Right Open, Big Ben In. Cleveland was lined up to the left, ready to run a go route.

The call: “Snap to Franks. Franks dropping back, stepping up, running the ball, looking, looking. He’s gonna heave one deep down the field, it’s gonna be to the goal line. It’s gonna be caught! It’s a touchdown and the Gators have won the game! Tyrie Cleveland! Oh, my, I can’t believe what I just saw!”

1. ‘Doering’s got a touchdown!’

Florida 24, Kentucky 20 (Sept. 11, 1993)

Danny Wuerffel finds Chris Doering for winning TD

The setup: This is the call that at last endeared Hubert — in his fifth year on the job — to the Gators fan base. In the second game of the season, the seventh-ranked Gators — whose quarterbacks totaled seven interceptions — trailed Kentucky by three with eight seconds to play. Wuerffel, then a backup who had thrown three of the seven picks, faced third-and-10 from the UK 28.

The call: “Wuerffel dropping back to throw. Pumps it, fires the ball over the middle. ... Doering’s got a touchdown! Doering’s got a touchdown! Oh, myyy! Doering’s got a touchdown!”

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