State Colleges

This is why Florida Memorial is bringing back college football after a 61-year hiatus

FMU brings back football

Florida Memorial University announces the return of football at the Miami Gardens college, May 4, 2019.
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Florida Memorial University announces the return of football at the Miami Gardens college, May 4, 2019.

Florida Memorial University is going to spend a little less than $1 million to revive its football program in the fall of 2020.

“It’s the rebirth of pride and tradition,” FMU athletic director Ernest Jones said.

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Florida Memorial University former student and board member Charles George wears a shirt celebrating the college’s return to football, May 4, 2019. FMU Board of trustees announced the revival of the FMU football team at the Berry T. Ferguson Recreational Complex where their games will be played. CHARLES TRAINOR JR ctrainor@miamiherald.com

The university president, board of trustees and Miami Gardens mayor officially announced the revival at a press conference at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex on Tuesday afternoon.

University President Jaffus Hardrick said this move will elevate the university “on a national scale.”

He says the football team will boost university enrollment and said he wants to see the student body grow 1,100 students to around 3,500 as a result.

Hardrick said the university will not increase tuition to meet the cost and will launch a campaign for financial support. The university is also partnering with Miami Gardens and will use the city’s Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex.

Jones, who is a former football coach, said the team will use the complex to play its first game in the Sun Conference.

“We’re going to play right here in Miami Gardens,” he said.

In addition to using the football field, the university will have its other sports teams use those facilities. The university will be able to host games, camps and other events.

“We are talking about making Miami Gardens the No. 1 city in the nation,” Jones said. “We are going to make Florida Memorial University the premier university in South Florida.”

The university is already recruiting students to play, join the new marching band and try out for the cheerleading team. Jones said they will hire a head coach in fall 2019 and start initial practices in the spring of 2020.

And there are already potential uniforms. Jones said the team will partner with adidas apparel for its uniforms. They will have three different helmet colors and six to nine different jersey color combinations.

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Florida Memorial University football helmet on display at a ceremony celebrating the college’s return to football, May 4, 2019. FMU Board of trustees announced the revival of the FMU football team at the Berry T. Ferguson Recreational Complex where their games will be played.

And Hardrick added students will have a chance to give input on the home team’s apparel.

“It’s going to be a family affair,” Hardrick said.

Hardrick and Jones said the student response to the revival has been “overwhelming,” and that they filled four charter buses of students to bring to the press conference.

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