By Vincent Jones Jr.
It has been 61 years since the Florida Memorial Lions have stepped on a football field to compete against other schools across the nation. The Lions’ last game was played in 1958 where they capped off a 14-8 win over Albany State. At the initial inception of the program, the University was then called Florida Normal and Industrial Institute and competed in the now defunct South Atlantic Intercollegiate Athletic Association where they accumulated 45 wins and 21 losses between 1945 and 1958. Given that the city of Miami Gardens hosts the Lions, they are surrounded by some of the best talent that the nation has to offer and without question a staple in the history of collegiate sports. This past Tuesday, The FMU Lions announced the rebirth of their football program as they are set to compete in the Sun Conference as members of the National Association of Intercollegiate athletics in 2020.
Athletic Director Ernest T. Jones was very eager to inform the public about not only the potential of the program but the impact it will have on the school as well as the community and city of Miami Gardens.
“It will most definitely bring a lot of fun and excitement. The students have been talking about the possible arrival of a football team since I took the job here and I believe it will energize this campus and it will make these students want to get up and do their day to day activities because now they something big to look forward to. We are going to have a lot of support, definitely more than what most people think we will have”
Jones also elaborated on the importance of recruiting and how they plan on getting the best talent for their program.
“We are going to get into every high school in the state of Florida and that is our priority. We don’t need to go to any other state to recruit because as we all know we have the best talent in the world right here.”
Chairman Elect and Florida Memorial University Alumni William McCormick shared his thoughts on the funding aspect of this new team and the major possibilities at stake for all of those who are involved in the process of making the pro-gram flourish.
“What’s attractive about this opportunity is for over 50 years FMU has been embedded in the south Florida’s football Mecca and with rebirthing football and all its external affiliations is a win-win proposition for all stake-holders. Most of our current revenue is attributed to student enrollment, so it’s a numbers and execution game for us to manage, enhance and sustain enrollment. In the coming years, the goal will be to have a total student enrollment of 3500.
So far, we are experiencing a great deal of all around excitement and that’s encouraging. Our focus of ensuring educational excellence will only be enhanced by sure opportunity because with more net revenue we will be positioned to offer and explore more for our students.”
With FMU’s amazing history and community support, the ensuing football program is due for success and will not only fire up the campus but also will give many children across the state an opportunity to better themselves.