FORT MYERS, Fla. – Longtime FGCU Athletics supporters Jim and Donna Sublett have once again stepped up to enhance the student-athlete experience as the couple has committed to donate $1 million toward the expansion of Alico Arena.
The gift is earmarked for the construction of a strength and conditioning facility exclusively for FGCU's 250 student-athletes which will be built on to Alico Arena. It is the first seven-figure donation which has been committed as part of the Department of Athletics' $12 million capital campaign and was announced Saturday evening.
"Donna and I consider it an honor to be of assistance to the university by providing a gift for the new strength and conditioning facility," said Jim Sublett. "Many FGCU student-athletes will continue to bring honor and recognition to the university, partially because of the excellent new facility to fine-tune their bodies, skills and talents. We feel blessed to be able to do this. Go Eagles!"
The Subletts have been gracious supporters of FGCU Athletics since the inaugural Division-II season in 2002-03 when they donated their first scholarship and purchased one of Alico's skyboxes.
They have been active members of the Eagles Scholarship Society – the highest annual giving designation for FGCU Athletics – and have donated several men's and women's basketball scholarships, in addition to funding enhancements to the men's basketball locker room multiple times.
The couple also funded the men's basketball hallway wrap, which lines the walls outside the team's locker room and prominently features indelible images of Dunk City's run to the Sweet 16 in 2013. They are floor-level, center-court season ticket holders for men's and women's basketball, and often travel to support the programs on the road as well.
"We are humbled to have such continued tremendous support from our wonderful friends Jim and Donna," added Director of Athletics Ken Kavangh. "Already on board as two of our kindest donors, their phenomenal additional generosity is of record proportion and is of extreme value to our current and future student-athletes as we seek to establish much sought after enhanced facilities to match the fantastic results that our teams have been collectively producing."
Currently, FGCU's student-athletes do not have a dedicated space to work out as they share the weight room with the university's student body population which is nearing 15,000. Despite this, FGCU has still claimed 40 conference tournament or regular-season championships since 2007-08, and has made 16 team or individual appearances in NCAA tournaments since 2011-12.
"Donna and Jim Sublett are the epitome of true FGCU Eagles fans. They have been supportive of the programs since the beginning, they show up, they support the student-athletes and they continue to invest in our success," said FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw. "We are delighted that they are early investors in this great project that will benefit all of our teams."
Approximately $7 million in upgrades are planned for Alico Arena, including the addition of a video board which will be installed this summer, an expanded sports medicine area, a new academic resource center and new office suites. Approximately 40 percent of the $12 million has already been raised.
"Not only our program, but every team and student-athlete at FGCU will benefit greatly from the addition of a strength and conditioning facility," stated head men's basketball coach Joe Dooley. "It will be tremendous for our student-athletes to have a dedicated workout space, and will improve their overall performance. We're extremely grateful to the Subletts for their significant donation and can't thank them enough."
The other $5 million will be put toward scholarships, recruiting budgets, additional facility enhancements and strategic areas of focus. FGCU only has the NCAA maximum allowable scholarships in seven of its 15 programs, up from just four during the 2013-14 season.
"The Subletts have been great supporters since Day 1, and we're thankful for their continued generosity with this donation," added head women's basketball coach Karl Smesko, who has guided the program since 2002-03. "This project will enhance the student-athlete experience at FGCU."
The $12 million goal for athletics is part of the university's $100 million fundraising campaign, which was publicly launched in late September.
People interested in donating to the athletics campaign should contact Graham Diemer, Assistant Athletics Director for Advancement, at (239) 590-7117, or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the athletics capital campaign, visit FGCUAthletics.com/capitalcampaign.