Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Q&A FAU's Michael Smith


A few weeks ago, I had some ideas as to what events should be held at the New FAU Football Stadium.

I spoke to Associate Athletic Director for Corporate Sponsorships Michael Smith. He took this position after serving as Director of Collegiate Sports Properties for the University of Mississippi in the Southeastern Conference.

Smith gave me his reasons as to why he moved to Boca Raton and he talked about what the South Florida Community has to look forward to.

Q: What made you decide to take this position at FAU?

A: To be Associate Athletic Director was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. I am looking forward to the inner workings of working behind the scenes of what it takes in building a New Stadium for a Division I School. I see the Athletic Program growing into a Conference USA, Big East or ACC member one day. I am thrilled to see the excitement of the Boca Raton Community.

Q: How many events do you foresee and what type of financial benefit will Boca Raton receive?

A: I anticipate that the stadium have a $1.7 Million impact to the Community of Boca Raton. It's the largest facility between Miami and Orlando. It will hold 15 events the first year. Five football games along with 10 other events. I anticipate concerts, college events, international soccer, high school all-star games and eventually landing a college bowl game. We hope to expand to at least 20 events.

Q: Were your familiar with FAU before you took this position?

A: Yes, Football Coach Howard Schnellenberger's reputation speaks for itself. Mike Jarvis won 21 games this year for the basketball team and has an excellent track record for taking his teams to the NCAA Tournament. John McCormack's baseball team are perennial winners.

Q: How will your previous position benefit you here?

A: I worked in the multimedia areas. I worked in marketing, advertising and promotions so we have lots of inventory here. I will be working on selling signs for the Football Stadium, radio spots, coaches call in radio shows for all sports, Internet, and promotions on the field.

According to Smith, there has been an increase in landing new students. Last year, FAU had 9,000 applications from incoming freshman. This year the total is at 22,000.

Oct 15 is right around the corner and by the end of the week, the FAU Football Team will be in training camp preparing for that inaugural season. It will be interesting to see which players go down in history as the one that scores the first touchdown, has the first yard, etc.

If the growth of the football program goes according to planned, the football stadium has the ability to be expanded in two phases, from 30-45,000 and 45-65,000. The addition of more students as aforementioned could be the beginning of what lies ahead.

Scott Morganroth can be reached scottsports33@aol.com and his blog can be seen at www.scottsports33.com.

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