by President Catanese
As you must have heard, we are gearing up for the 21st sport here and that’s football. We have been moving forward since the Board of Trustees gave the “OK” in 2010 and look forward to playing our first competitive game in 2013. We’ve raised $700,000 and need to keep the fund-raising momentum going. We’ve recruited 46 student players for the fall, held a successful football camp for youths and, most critical of all, we’ve just hired a head football coach, Steve Englehart.
Of the 100-plus serious applicants we chose Steve because of his exceptional coaching record, experience with the offense and his playing days as a quarterback. He also knows that our student-athletes are students first who must balance success on the football field with classroom achievement.
We will likely play our games at either Palm Bay High School or Melbourne High School, which are not far away. The very large seating capacity at either school will accommodate many college football enthusiasts, including, of course, our faculty and staff fans. We’re not sure what conference we’ll play in because the Sunshine State Conference doesn’t play football, but we have some good options.
I am excited and I hope you are, too. Florida is a football state. We have already found there to be great community interest and my experience has shown that college football can create wonderful community cohesion. Football is also a unique recruitment tool that is already working for us. It can be a powerful enrollment magnet as it helps us to offer the full collegiate experience.
Academics will always be No. 1 here. But, as we create a culture of football, I believe we’ll find that it enriches campus life for all of us.