Today we introduce an occasional series about the future of Gator athletics. You would think that the Gators are comfortably successful. But we can't be comfortable. In the future, more teams will compete in basketball and football and everything. In the future, games will not be won on the field or on the court. They will be won in the hearts and minds of donors and high school kids.
History, even if it is recent, does not always guarantee that you can get in the hearts and minds of people. If history was so strong of an influence, Notre Dame Football wouldn't suck and St. John's would still have an elite basketball team. The Gators need to be successful, not just in football and basketball, but in tennis and track and men's soccer (more on that in a second). With success, or the appearance of progress in those sports, comes more money, better facilities, better athletes, and we won't have to worry about Florida State, Georgia, or Tennessee getting to our level.
It's harder for those of us who are current students or recent grads to understand, but Florida was not a multisport powerhouse until the 1980s. To make up for lost time, Florida needs to continue to get better. (I addressed this in May on The Sporting Orange.)
We look at regional schools as competition. In the future, our competition will be Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, and UCLA. Not only are these schools ahead of us in sports, but in academics. Think about it, the only public school with great athletics and terrible academics is Ohio State. (Kidding!) The good thing is that the flagship university of the fourth largest state should have plenty of money thrown at it. We'll need it to accomplish these goals.
- Indoor Sports Complex for Football, Tennis, and Track.
- Renovations to O'Connell Center
- Men's Soccer Program
- National Championships in Gymnastics and Volleyball
- National Championship in Baseball
- Put Men's Basketball closer to the level of Football
- More seating/luxury suites at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
- Endowment program
- Monument Park/Hall of Fame
- FieldTurf for Soccer/Lacrosse field and practice facility
You can drop your suggestions in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.