Former Gators join Newberry staff

The Newberry football program announced the hiring of a pair of former Gator football players to their staff for the upcoming season.

Travis McGriff, who played wide receiver for UF from 1994-1998, and Reid Fleming, who played linebacker for the Gators from 2000-2003, are the Panthers’ new offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively.

“This is an exciting time for Newberry Football, the school and the community,” said Newberry football coach Ed Johnson. “They both bring extensive knowledge, passion, and success to our staff.”

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While the pair are new to the varsity staff they have already been a part of the program.

“They both coached our middle school team the past few years and had a lot of success,” Johnson said. “We’re looking forward to having them join us this season.”

This past season the Panthers finished 5-6. They advanced to the Class 1A state playoffs based on their strength of schedule but lost at Bradford (Starke), 51-13, in the opening round.

Johnson is hoping McGriff and Fleming can help strengthen both sides of the ball. This past fall, the Panthers were outscored 337-217.

McGriff, who won a national title with UF in 1996, had his most productive season with the Gators in 1998.

The Gainesville native, who starred at P.K. Yonge, caught 70 passes for 1,357 yards, which is first on the UF single-season list for receiving yards and tied for sixth all time with Chris Doering (1995) and Kadarius Toney (2020) for receptions in a single season.

His 13 catches against South Carolina in 1998 is tied for third on the single-game charts and his 222 yards receiving against the Gamecocks ranks third all time for most receiving yards in a game in Florida football history.

“Travis has a great offensive mind and feel for the game,” Johnson said. “He will work to get our players in the best position possible to have success on the field.”

Fleming was one of the top linebackers in the state coming out of Rutherford (Panama City), which advanced to the 1999 state title game. As a senior at UF, he ranked second among UF linebackers with 68 tackles, which was more than three times his three-year total (22 tackles) entering his senior season.

“Reid is super competitive and organized,” Johnson said. “He fits in perfectly with what we have been doing the past few years on defense. He will have us flying around and being a physical defense on Friday nights.”

Newberry, which will compete in the new Suburban classification this fall (Class 1S, Region 2, District 3), will host Wildwood in the preseason classic on Friday, Aug. 19.

The Panthers open the 2022 regular season at home against rival Santa Fe (Alachua) on Friday, Aug. 26.

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