Moon looks to begin new era in UNF athletics

Spinnaker

UNF may be known for its Jazz program, but Lee Moon, UNF’s new Athletic Director, believes that UNF’s athletics should be receiving the same kind of attention.

UNF President John Delaney introduced Lee Moon as the sixth Director of Athletics in the history of UNF on Feb. 5, and both are ready to start a new era in UNF athletics.

Moon comes to UNF from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he served as the senior associate athletics director since 2004. Moon comes to UNF already having athletic director experience at several Division I schools including Marshall University where he hired Billy Donovan, the current coach of the University of Florida men’s basketball team, to his first head coaching position.

“This is a very special time in history for the athletic program because next year we will be a full-fledged member of Division I,” Delaney said during the press conference. “We felt that someone that could bring in different perspective was incredibly important. We think simply we found a perfect person.”

Moon already has several plans for UNF’s future which he said is sure to be a bright one during an interview with the Spinnaker.

“I want us to be at the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference. I want us to compete for championships, and I want people to walk around this region of the country and Jacksonville and talk about UNF Athletics.”

During the interview process for his new position Moon heard a lot about UNF’s Jazz program and its academics. This kind of exposure is what Moon hopes UNF athletics someday will achieve. A huge transformation of UNF’s athletics image is something that he thinks is very possible, and that he has never seen so many people that have the desire to be something special.

Moon knows that it takes several things to build a strong athletic program, and he believes he knows what it takes to succeed. One of these aspects that UNF has struggled with in the past is proper financial support for its programs, but this is a problem that can easily be fixed, said Moon.

“Some people spend money on drink machines and pop; I’m going to spend money that makes the difference between winning and losing”

Another thing that UNF must do is build a stronger sports’ identity through their basketball teams and other features programs, said Moon. Because UNF does not currently have a football team, Moon believes that UNF’s basketball teams and other major programs need to become stronger and lead the athletics progam into the future.

“We’ve gotta have men’s and women’s basketball that have to lead the way,” said Moon.

This is one area where Moon believes he brings a lot of expertise to the table. Moon is responsible for hiring the current coach of the University of Florida basketball team, Billy Donovan, to his first head coaching job at Marshall University.

“I know what Basketball coaches are supposed to do and how to do it,” said Moon.

With the proper amount of funding and support Moon believes that a turnaround can come very easily for UNF’s basketball programs.

“Look at what Butler did with one/tenth of UNF’s facilities,” said Moon. “Shoot, if they can do it there, I can get this done here. We’ll be fine.”

One thing that Moon believes is further off in UNF’s future is the acquisition of a football. When asked whether his experience as a college level football coach played into his hiring, Moon was adamant that it was not the case.

“No, we’ve got a ways to go,” Moon said. “We’ve got to get here where we are good at what we do right now.”

However, UNF Student Government President, John Barnes, indicated that Moon’s hiring is intended to have an impact on the possibility of a UNF football program.

“Anyone who hopes to see UNF football, we just took a step in the right direction,” said Barnes.

In whatever steps that Moon plans to take for UNF, it is clear that he will have the backing and support of the administration and community.

“We’re so excited to have Lee Moon on our home court and joining the UNF team,” Delaney said. “We feel that Lee is the most qualified individual to lead our student-athletes in competing at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics.”