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 in southwest Florida 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.
“You’ll never meet a nicer guy than Donnie Craine,” Florida swimming 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.”
A four-time Southeastern Conference diving coach of the year, Craine coached five NCAA champions.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Mindy, and three children: Keith, 31; Christopher, 30; and Stephanie, 26.
“Our thoughts are with Mindy, their family and all who had a chance to know and be coached by him,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “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.”