Money is key to moving toward more D-1 wins


After spending almost an hour in Lee Moon’s office talking about the future of UNF Athletics, I have figured what UNF needs to succeed – more money. That’s it. That’s the bottom line.

But how is Lee Moon going to raise the money?

One thing Moon’s new administration has done is the replacement and reorganization of athletic staff.  Since Moon’s hiring, UNF has released and fired several employees.  Moon said several of the newly appointed positions are not new jobs but rather old positions whose functions have been organized under different titles.  A recent move Moon made was to appoint UNF’s recently fired men’s basketball Head Coach Matt Kilcullen in charge of the newly revamped Osprey Club.  Moon said Kilcullen is well connected in the area, and is good at raising money.

Moon also made changes inside the marketing department, but didn’t set any goals for them.

“I have a goal in my head, and it’s lofty, but I think we can reach it,” he said.

Moon doesn’t plan on making any coaching changes this season, though everyone should keep a close eye on women’s basketball Head Coach Mary Tappmeyer, who has experience five consecutive losing seasons including last season’s 8-21 record.

Tappmeyer probably has one more season to prove she can lead the women’s team into the Division I, but that’s one more season Kilcullen didn’t get.

“All coaches are under constant evaluation,” Moon said.

But Moon doesn’t expect his programs to perform well without proper funding, and the only sport fully funded at this time is men’s basketball.

One change Lee Moon won’t be making anytime soon is the addition of a football team.

Many people have continued to ask me to write about not having a football team and when it might be possible to have one. Well football fans, I am going to be as optimistic as I can, so here you go: There is no hope is UNF possibly ever having a team in the next 10 years.

Moon said it is not on his list of priorities and starting a good football program would cost in excess of $6 million, and there is not enough practice field room for a soccer team and a football team to coexist. Moon refused to put a year on when it might be possible, but acknowledged it wouldn’t happen in the next 10 years.

No football team, but we still have a new Nike contract for team apparel.

Moon refused to disclose the details of the Nike contract only to say it was a good deal for the students, and it would be a good recruiting tool for the future. The new Nike apparel will be in the UNF Bookstore and area stores this fall.

Another way the athletics department is raising money is through non-conference men’s basketball games. Alabama, Notre Dame, Marquette, Illinois State and Northwestern are all paying between $75,000 and $115,000 to have the Ospreys to come play them. Marquette was the highest bidder with $115,000.

Moon said this was a lot more money than last season, when the two big name schools UNF played were Miami and Clemson.

But despite whether or not you agree with Moon on all the decisions he has made as the new athletic director, this season is going to be an historic one for the university. Though it’s improbable, our basketball teams are now eligible to compete in March Madness. Dusty Rhodes’ baseball team could be in the college world series. But at what cost will it come? And will the money be worth the rewards?