FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the second straight year, the FGCU Athletic Department will provide the unique combination of fine dining with the total sports experience when it hosts the "Night at the Nest" Gala on Sunday, Dec. 4 in Alico Arena. Over 300 attended the inaugural event in 2010 and expectations are that a capacity crowd of nearly twice that will be witnessed this year for the Eagle Club's largest fundraising event in support of all 14 FGCU Athletics teams.
Former University of Florida football head coach and two-time National Champion (2006, 2008) Urban Myer will serve as the keynote speaker. Over six seasons at Florida, Meyer led the Gators to a 65-15 record (104-23 career overall, including two-year stints at Bowling Green and Utah) and was named the “Coach of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated and Sporting News. Meyer’s daughter Gigi is the starting freshman setter on the FGCU volleyball team.
“I am honored and excited to be a part of FGCU’s Night at the Nest event,” said Meyer. “I’ve been very impressed with the energy and excitement around the FGCU campus and we are extremely proud to have our daughter be a part of the FGCU Athletics team.”
Joining Meyer as other sports celebrities and speakers will be a trio of former FGCU greats and professionals, including Chicago White pitcher Chris Sale (the 2010 National Collegiate Player of the Year), Casey Coleman of the Chicago Cubs and Derek Lamely, a two-year PGA member.
The dinner is just the start of the two-day event, as fans also have the opportunity to attend an instructional clinic led by retired FGCU head golf coach Dr. Jim Suttie (ranked amongst the top 15 teaching professionals in the nation), as well as play a round of golf on Monday, Dec. 5 at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club with one of the professional sports celebrities of their choice. For more information and pricing about the “Golfing With The Greats” portion of the event, call senior associate athletic director Butch Perchan at (239) 590-7030 or email at SPerchan@fgcu.edu.
The dinner on Sunday will begin at 4:45 p.m. with a VIP Cocktail Party attended by the celebrities in the Alico Arena VIP Suite that overlooks the basketball court. Entry into the VIP Cocktail Party is only available for those who are sponsoring a Table or participating in the “Golf with the Greats.” FGCU President Dr. Wilson Bradshaw, along with Coleman, Lamely and Sale will provide the opening remarks before dinner begins promptly at 6:15 p.m. Meyer will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. to conclude the evening. Members of all of FGCU's sports teams will be involved with the event as greeters and servers.
ESPN 770 AM’s David Moulton will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the entire event. A silent auction that includes all kinds of sports memorabilia and other packages will take place throughout the night and a live auction of several specialty opportunities will also be conducted.
Other celebrities already slated to be at the dinner include local Major League Baseball stars Chris Johnson (Bishop Verot HS/Houston Astros), Matt LaPorta (Charlotte HS/Cleveland Indians) and Chris Resop (Barron Collier HS/Pittsburgh Pirates), as well as PGA veteran Chip Beck and Fort Myers' native George McNeil.
The cost of dinner is $1,000 for a Table of 10 ($50 for children 12 and under). A total of 60 tables are available. For reservations, please contact Graham Diemer at (239) 590-7107 or by email at GDiemer@fgcu.edu.
More information and a complete brochure of the event can be found on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com on the front page. Pictures from last year’s event along with more info about this year’s gala will also be available on Facebook (@FGCUAthletics).