Hardy said major retailers like Target and Dick’s Sport Goods are getting in on the act, speeding up orders and then reordering.
The school should expect to see an uptick in applications, particularly from outside of Florida, said Patrick Walsh, an assistant professor of sports administration at Indiana University. That has happened at previous “Cinderella” schools — lowly underdogs that shocked the world in the NCAA Tournament.
That’s key for a college that only opened in 1997, and where more than 90 percent of the kids are from Florida.
“They’re getting a lot of unique attention now, and I think that’s going to carry over,” Walsh said.
The college’s coming-out party hasn’t been seamless.
Students are still laughing about a Duke game program they say identified the Eagles as the Florida Gulf Coast Panthers a few months ago. And just last week, TBS showed a graphic calling the campus “Florida Golf Coast” — although to be fair the school is surrounded by country clubs.
Such nomenclature hiccups aside, the marketing opportunities are there, as FGCU student Malike Adigun proved when he lured half a million hits to a video about Fort Myers, er, Dunk City. A sample:
“Never heard of us
but we’re knockin’ teams out.
20- point lead,
but you see us now.
Seed 15 versus number 2.
The whole world thought
we were gonna’ lose...,”
(Adigun has already gone to work filming Dunk City 2.)
Whether all this changes if and when the Eagles lose is unclear. Dunk City might go back to being hot, steamy, sleepy, unglamorous Fort Myers.
But there is another possibility, said Hardy.
“What would happen,” he said, “if they happen to beat Florida?”