Monday, May 9, 2011

FAU Football Building History

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

A year ago, quarterback Rusty Smith made history as he was the first FAU player to ever be selected in the NFL Draft as the Tennessee Titans nabbed him in the sixth round, 176th overall.
In 2010, Smith saw some playing time by replacing the injured signal caller Vince Young.

Now another Owl will have a chance to see his NFL dreams come true once the league's labor dispute, lockout, comes to an end.
Tight-end Rob Housler will take his 6-5, 248 pound frame to the Arizona Cardinals. In 2010, Housler caught 39 passes for 629 yards and four touchdowns. He was selected in the third round, 69th overall. It remains to be seen as to who will be throwing Housler the football since there is a dilemma at quarterback.

But as these two players write their way into the Owls history books, the buzz around campus is due to the construction of the new FAU Football Stadium. The 30,000 seat structure, located on the north central side of campus, is due to be completed by October 15th when the team can finally forget about Lockhart Stadium and play in a real facility.
On May 4th, the Athletic Department received a real financial boost as a $2 million gift came from longtime FAU supporters Richard and Barbara Schmidt, through the Schmidt Family Foundation. Their contribution will be recognized with permanent signage on the stadium scoreboard.

“We are extremely grateful to the Schmidt Family Foundation for this gift,” said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. “The support FAU has received from the Schmidts over the years has helped it become the internationally recognized university it is today. With these funds for the stadium, the Schmidt family continues to leave its mark on FAU, and we will be reminded of the extraordinary generosity every time we look at the scoreboard that bears their family name.”
The $70 million project is slated to feature 6,000 premium seats, including 24 suites, 26 loge boxes, 1,000 premier club seats and 4,000 priority club seats along with the latest state-of-the-art amenities. It is estimated to bring in $1.8 million to the local economy on each game day.

One person very appreciative of the gift is Head Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger.
“On behalf of the players, coaches, and fans, I thank the Schmidt Family Foundation for their commitment to the future of Owl Football and for their generous gift to our new home,” Schnellenberger said. October 15 will forever be a day of great significance in FAU history.”

Although it's months away, I'm already getting charged up about the opener especially since I see the continued progress in the stadium's construction on a daily basis off I-95.

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