Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565
Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax: (239) 590-1066
DUNK CITY DEBUTS 2013 SEASON ON ESPN'S MIDNIGHT MADNESS OCT. 18, BREAKFAST ON THE BEACH NOV.12
FORT MYERS, Fla. - It doesn't matter if you know a dunk from a dribble or an airball from an alley-oop, you can't help but be caught up in the infectious fun that is FGCU men's basketball. Two special events - both televised on ESPN - kick off the season and everyone is invited to take part in Dunk City's jubilant return.
For the first time, the FGCU's men's basketball team will be among nine college programs across the country to be featured on ESPNU's Midnight Madness coverage. The event, Dunk City After Dark, runs from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18. Admission is free.
"It's a great opportunity for the community to come together again and celebrate all that is terrific about Eagles basketball," says Athletics Director Ken Kavanagh. "We're out to prove that last year's record was no fluke and we want all of Southwest Florida here cheering the team on to help build that momentum."
Midnight Madness is a time-honored tradition at schools around the country. It began in 1971, when Lefty Driesell, then the coach at Maryland, started his team working out at three minutes past midnight on Oct. 15, the first day teams could officially practice. Since then, the midnight start has shifted from a practice to a high-spirited pep rally, complete with parties, contests and other revelry.
As it does each year, ESPN will cover the fun at a select number of schools and FGCU will be among them for the first time. Also in the lineup this year will be the University of Connecticut, Duke, Kentucky, Memphis, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Syracuse and Wichita State.
ESPN college basketball analyst LaPhonso Ellis will serve as on-site commentator, reporting and interviewing from FGCU and joining with the studio commentators to preview the team's season.
As ESPN shoots from school to school, there will be plenty of fun taking place at Alico Arena from about 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. While the schedule is still being finalized, Dunk City After Dark, presented by Coconut Point Ford, will feature an introductory video, three-point contests for men and women, a scrimmage, player skits and a much-anticipated dunk contest in which the high-flying Eagles will get to demonstrate the shot that thrust them into the national spotlight last season when the team became the first-ever No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16.
To ensure a good seat, make sure to arrive in time for the volleyball game against Lipscomb, which starts at 7 p.m. Special discounted tickets are available for $3, which guarantees a seat for the Dunk City event afterwards.
ESPN will return to campus Tuesday, Nov. 12, for Breakfast at the Beach, FGCU's home opener, which is part of ESPNís 24-Hour Tip-Off Marathon. The annual event, held the first Tuesday of the season, encompasses 12 consecutive contests in selected matchups across the country, providing a full day of college basketball.
FGCU's game against the University of Hartford will start things off at 7 a.m. and those who attend will receive a commemorative T-shirt. Fans will also witness the pre-game unveiling of FGCU's Sweet Sixteen banner to commemorate the Eagles' record-setting run as the first ever 15th-seed to accomplish such a feat in NCAA tournament history.
"Getting to open our season with a nationally televised game is a great way to show our fans everywhere how hard we've been working in the offseason," says Joe Dooley, men's basketball head coach. "It's an opportunity for us to build on the success of last season, and play a challenging game against a team that is picked to lead their conference."
At halftime, the Eagles women's basketball team will be honored for winning the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference title, its sixth consecutive trip to a postseason tournament. At 7 p.m. that night, the women will take on Bethune-Cookman in their home opener. During halftime of the evening contest, the men's team's historical journey to the NCAA Tournament will be memorialized with a Sweet 16 ring ceremony and the unveiling of the team's A-Sun Conference Tournament championship banner.
Tickets for both events are limited. Reserve seats by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling (239) 590-7145 or logging on to www.fgcuathletics.com/tickets.
For up-to-the-minute information and behind-the-scenes access to the men's and women's basketball programs, follow @FGCU_MBB and @FGCU_WBB on Twitter and Instagram, and "Like" us on Facebook at /FGCUMBB and /FGCUWBB
2013-14 men's and women's basketball season tickets are selling quickly, and only a limited amount remain. New this year for the men are mini-plan packages for all games, with the exception of "Breakfast at the Beach," and individual-game tickets are now on sale. Fans can reserve their seat(s) by visiting the Alico Arena Ticket Office, calling 239-590-7145 or logging on to FGCUAthletics.com/Tickets.