FORT MYERS, Fla. – In an effort to step up its game, FCGU's Eagles Club Advisory Board is reaching out to fans in Sarasota and Charlotte counties as it forms the Sarasota Advisory Committee to build support for the FGCU Athletics program. The goal is to involve residents from Punta Gorda north to Sarasota in the excitement of the university's 15 athletics teams, including the men's basketball team, which made its storied run to the NCAA's Sweet 16 last year, launching the much-lauded Dunk City.
Jeff Charlotte, president of JE Charlotte Construction Corp., will chair the committee. An Eagles Club board member and Venice resident, he was chosen by FGCU Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh and Eagles Club Board Chairman Brian Rasnick to lead the effort to expand Eagles support.
“We are excited to bring Dunk City north and help raise awareness around FGCU Athletics," says Charlotte. "Our goal is to make FGCU the hometown team for everyone from Southwest Florida."
Jeff and his wife, Virginia, have two daughters who attend FGCU and they are also season ticket holders.
FGCU serves the entire Southwest Florida region and a number of FGCU student-athletes have come from the area that the advisory board will cover. Among them are:
* Port Charlotte High graduate Ricky Knapp, who was the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year, an eighth-round pick in this past June MLB draft by the New York Mets. He is currently in the team's farm system.
* Venice High graduate Chelsea Zgrabik is an FGCU senior and was the 2013 A-Sun Softball Player of the Year, as well as All-Conference in 2012, when she helped lead FGCU to the university’s first NCAA post-season victory when the Eagles defeated Florida in the Gainesville Regional.
* FGCU Head Baseball Coach Dave Tollett -- named A-Sun Coach of the Year for three years running -- is a Charlotte High graduate and was a highly successful coach and teacher for the Punta Gorda school before starting the Eagles program from scratch in 2002.
Forming the Sarasota Advisory Committee is intended to advance the cause of FGCU Athletics by creating access to the programs, its coaches, staff and student-athletes, for its most dedicated supporters.
"I am so pleased that Jeff Charlotte has accepted the position of chairman of the Sarasota Advisory Committee," says Rasnick. "With his knowledge of both Charlotte and Sarasota counties and his broad network of relationships, we are looking forward to welcoming a great many new supporters to take part in making FGCU Athletics even more successful."
The SAC's first activity will be a golf outing, which will take place at Plantation Golf & Country Club (500 Rockley Blvd., Venice) on Monday, January 13, 2014.
Mr. Charlotte is actively recruiting professionals to help with the fundraiser and join the committee. Those who join will help organize events, support individual or group visits to campus and, most importantly, serve as liaisons between FGCU Athletics and the great sports fans in Charlotte and Sarasota counties.
The excitement around FGCU Athletics is palpable. Building support is a critical component in providing the scholarships and resources needed to attract top-quality players, retain talented coaches and supplying them with the facilities and equipment they need to keep the program on track.
The FGCU Eagles are proud to be Southwest Florida’s Hometown Team and part of the A-Sun Conference with six men’s and nine women’s Division I intercollegiate programs. Ticket information for upcoming events is available by calling 239.590.7145. Additional results and schedule information are available at fgcuathletics.com.