UNF Athletics swoops into the Nike swoosh

Spinnaker

For the first time in the history of UNF, the athletics department has made an agreement with Nike Inc. to have them as UNF Athletics’ provider for sports gear.

UNF is making a transition to a Nike sponsorship in the fall. The new Nike uniforms will debut at that time, and the apparel line is also expected to be available for purchase in the UNF campus bookstore and various local sports retailers.

“I was at the bookstore awhile ago and they wanted to create a Nike sports apparel area because everybody likes wearing Nike,” Athletic Director Lee Moon said. “This is good because we have to do things that will make UNF Athletics attractive.”

One of the many things Moon wants to do for the athletics department and the teams at UNF is to find out how to get UNF apparel in the local sports stores, such as Sports Authority or Dicks. Through a partnership with Nike, Moon hopes this will be able to happen.

“If you go to the St. Johns Town Center in the local stores that sell sporting equipment, you see Florida and Florida State, some UCF or JU, but you don’t see UNF. And I don’t know why,” Moon said. “I mean is it because we’re not Nike?”

UNF was able to get the agreement with Nike because of Moon’s relationship with them. He built a relationship with both Nike and Adidas at the other schools he has worked at in the past. He approached both brands about sponsoring UNF, but Nike has become the official UNF brand.

They are supplying UNF student-athletes with practice apparel and game uniforms for its 17 different men’s and women’s NCAA Division I sports.

Men’s assistant basketball coach Jeremy Shyatt is excited about the transition to Nike. He said he likes the new look and is looking forward to what it will bring to the basketball team.

Coming from two seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond as the director of men’s basketball operations, Shyatt is familiar with not having a football team, similar to UNF, but the men’s basketball team did make it to an NCAA tournament while he was there.

“The commitment Lee Moon is putting in is what we had at VCU and there’s a lot of excitement,” Shyatt said.

The Nike agreement will allow UNF Athletics to create a UNF line of Nike gear that will give student-athletes in each sport a consistent look. The university has a one-year transition period to end individual contracts with other apparel providers, which includes the baseball team. Head baseball coach Dusty Rhodes pursued his own contracts years back, Moon said.

The teams that will switch primarily to Nike in the fall are the men’s and women’s basketball and soccer teams as well as the volleyball team, Moon said.

Nike only supports product donation requests, not unsolicited cash proposals. They are the world’s leading designer and marketer of authentic athletic sporting equipment and apparel for numerous sports and fitness activities.

Players are excited to be sporting the Nike swoosh, including Juliemay Syquio, a junior on the women’s basketball team. She said wearing Nike on and off the court will definitely make a fashion statement.

“Nike has always been the ‘it’ brand for our generation,” she said. “If we look good, we play good.”

The transition to Nike will kick off UNF’s first season as a full-fledged member of Division I athletics.