Florida Tech Athletics: teeming with talent
A school recognized for its extensive technological curriculum and international student diversity, Florida Tech is also home to a multitude of accomplished athletes.
More than 275 students enrolled at the Melbourne university are involved in one or more of the school’s athletic programs – showing strong skills on the filed as well as in the classroom.
“Athletics provides our students with an opportunity to compete at a high level of intercollegiate sports,” says Ryan Jones, athletic communications director at FIT. “It gives students a chance to learn values and skills they can use throughout their lives. It also enables them to support one another and their institution, thus increasing school spirit.”
Currently, the university offers 17 sports, which are played at different times throughout the year.
In the 2011-12 academic school year, the program will add men’s and women’s swimming and diving, as well as men’s lacrosse. Following months of fundraising and preparation, Florida Tech will also kick-off its new football program in the fall of 2013.
“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” — William A. Ward
During the 2010-11 season, five athletic teams from Florida Tech sent at least one representative to a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II tournament.
• Women’s Basketball participated in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament, where its players competed against teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.
• Men’s Golf participated in its third NCAA Division II South/Southeast Regional competition in the past four years, led by head coach Chris Saltmarsh.
• Women’s Golf player Jessica Hook, a sophomore business administration major from Wilmington, N.C., participated in her first NCAA Division II Super Regional, where she finished with a six-over-par 78.
• Women’s Soccer advanced to its first-ever NCAA Division II Final Four and is currently ranked fourth in the nation in its division.
“Our team worked very hard to make it this far,” says Head Coach Fidgi Haig, who has more than 15 years experience coaching women’s soccer. “It was a long season with lots of challenges to overcome, but the players showed a lot of character, patience and discipline.”
• Women’s Tennis participated in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament for the third straight year.
Head Coach Bill Macom, who has coached both men’s and women’s tennis at FIT for the past six years, says it was the girls’ continuous efforts that got them so far.
“They worked hard volunteering in the community, hard enough to make it to the NCAA tournament, hard enough to post above a 3.5 team grade-point-average this year and hard enough to achieve many individual awards,” Coach Macom says. “I am certainly proud of their accomplishments and looking forward to them setting their goals extremely high next season.”
“The measure of who were are is what we do with what we have.” — Vince Lombardi
Approved by the Florida Tech Board of Trustees in April 2010, the university’s upcoming football program is a dream come true for many in the community.
From up-and-coming athletes to tourism and economic analysts, the program could mean big things for the Space Coast area.
Once established, Florida Tech’s football team could compete against teams from Valdosta State, Jacksonville and Stetson universities, as well as the University of North Alabama.
Organizers have spent the past 10 months recruiting for the university’s first football class and expect commitments from more than 40 players from throughout the state, as well as the rest of the country, says John Thomas, director of football operations at Florida Tech.These players will enroll at the university this fall.
Current recruiting efforts are being led by assistant coaches Ray Herring, who played locally for Holy Trinity before moving on to the University of Notre Dame, as well as Jayson Martin, former offensive coordinator and interim head coach at Rose-Hulman Insititute of Technology in Indiana.
Steve R. Englehart II, former head football coach at Rose-Hulman, has been selected as the first head football coach for the Panthers. Englehart, who played quarterback at Indiana State University, went on to serve Rose-Hulman where he had the highest winning percentage in school history. Since 2010, Englehart has served as offensive coordinator at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.
“We had tremendous interest from coaches at all levels, from high school to the National Football League,” John says. “We’re excited about taking the program to the next level.”
An estimated $2,700,000 was budgeted to begin Florida Tech’s football program, which features a multi-phase plan and includes significant fundraising assistance from a major corporate sponsor. The university has also implemented the Florida Tech Football Founder’s Club, made up of 10 $100,000 donors, who will help to get the program off the ground. Football is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013.
“Florida Tech will soon be the bridge to unite our Central Florida community in a way never accomplished before,” John says. “The excitement and enthusiasm for Panther Football will help the university share all that it has to offer. Our students are extremely excited, and we know that falls on campus will never be the same after that first kick-off.”
We are the Champions
Below is a list of championships won by Florida Tech teams and individual athletes.
• Men’s Rowing Varsity Eight: 1982, 1988
• Men’s Soccer: 1988, 1991
• Daniella Iacobelli: Women’s Golf Individual Champion 2007
Dad Vail Championships
• Men’s Rowing Overall Champions: 1986, 1987, 1988
• Men’s and Women’s Rowing Combined Champions: 1982, 1987
• Baseball: 1992
• Women’s Basketball: 2001-02
• Men’s and Women’s Rowing Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Overall Champions: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991
• Men’s Soccer: 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993
• Women’s Soccer: 2010
• Men’s and Women’s Rowing Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association (FIRA) Overall Champions: 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2004, 2006
Sunshine State Conference Regular Season Championships
•Women’s Basketball: 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 2001-02, 2006-07
• Men’s Basketball: 1989-90
• Women’s Cross Country: 1985, 1986, 1987
• Men’s Cross Country: 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991
• Women’s Rowing: 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005
• Men’s Soccer: 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993
• Women’s Soccer: 2010
Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championships
• Women’s Basketball: 1991-92, 1992-93, 1996-97, 2001-02
Sunshine State Conference Individual Championships
• David Ahmad-Abdallah (Men’s Cross Country)
• Daniella Iacobelli (Women’s Golf)
• Anthony Klingensmith (Men’s Golf)
• Melanie Thebarge (Women’s Cross Country)
• Sara Trané (Women’s Cross Country)