Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton needs just four points today against Middle Tennessee State to pass the late Dwayne Schnitzius (1,624 points) for sixth on UF’s scoring list.
The sad irony, it will occur in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, not far from Schintzius’ hometown of Brandon.
Another sad irony — the coach who recruited All-American 7-foot-2 Schintzius to UF in 1987 will be on the floor Sunday as an assistant for Middle Tennessee State. Monte Towe was an assistant at Florida from 1980-89. After a stint as an assistant under Sidney Lowe at North Carolina State, Towe joined MTSU’s staff last year.
Schintzius died of respiratory failure last April at 43 after an on-and-off three year battle with leukemia. Towe said he didn’t get a chance to make it back for Schintzius’ funeral, but spoke to his family shortly after he passed.
“I loved Dwayne,” Towe said. “He came to Florida at a time when not a lot of players wanted to come to Florida. He could have gone to Kentucky or Vanderbilt or a number of other schools.
“He had his issues but he loved Florida. He was a talented big man. He led us to our first SEC regular season championship in school history in 1989. I’m just really sad that he’s no longer with us.”
As well as scoring, Schintzius holds the UF career lead in blocked shots (272) and ranks fourth in field goals made (695). His Florida career had its share of ups and downs. Schintzius quit the Florida team his senior year in 1990 due to disagreements with Florida interim coach Don DeVoe. In 1988, Schintzius was suspended for the Great Alaska Shootout after allegedly assaulting a person and a car with a tennis racquet outside a Gainesville nightclub.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said he met Schintzius early in his tenure at UF at different booster functions.
“The first time I met Dwayne, I really, really felt bad for him for a couple of reasons,” Donovan said. “One, I thought the perception of him wasn’t really reality. he was a really good guy. The other thing, I was truly amazed that even with some of the challenges he had while he was here in school, he loved the University of Florida.”
Donovan invited Schintzius back to the O’Connell Center for a game between Florida and Georgia in February of 2011. It was his first time back since he quit the Gators in 1990. When Schintzius was shown on the jumbotron, he received a loud ovation.
“I felt terrible that he got ill, he got sick,” Donovan said. “I tried to stay in contact with him. He was a great, great guy. I know there was some different things that happened, sometimes when are young, and even when we get older, we all make some decisions and choices and do things that we look back on and wish we didn’t and wouldn’t have done. I think everyone’s life can be put in that capsule.
“But the one thing I admired about Dwayne is maybe some people tried to pass judgement and define him as a person and who he was, and that certainly in my relationship with him, that was not who he was. I found him to be someone who looked back on some things he regretted, never, ever once said anything negative about Florida, loved the University of Florida, came out to booster meetings, wanted to be back and wanted to be part of the program.”