After 61 years, Florida Memorial restarts football program
Monday, July 8, 2019
Football is back at Florida Memorial University (FMU). Athletic director Ernest T. Jones, president Jaffus Hardick and the board of trustees announced the rebirth of football during a recent news conference where former Miami Dolphins legendary players Larry Little, an NFL Hall of Famer, and Nat Moore were on hand to lend their support.
Since accepting his new role at the university, Jones has been rallying for the return of football after a 61-year Hiatus.
The Lions will play their first game in 2020 at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreational Complex in Miami Gardens and compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics as a member of the Sun Conference.
“I would like to thank the Board of Trustees, president Hardrick, and the city of Miami Gardens community for their help and support,” said Jones. “It's a new day and FMU will become the global university academically and athletically that others will want to mirror.”
Jones put together an elaborate presentation that included a partnership with Miami Gardens that will not only increase revenue and enrollment at the university but also create a family amongst the students and the city in which they reside.
The rebirth of the football program is part of Hardick’s vision to fully integrate the university into the greater community and expand educational and economic opportunities in South Florida.
“We are elated about the impact the football program will have on FMU’s enrollment and student engagement,” said Hardick, who was flanked by Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III and Sun Conference Commissioner Dustin Wilke. “It will also galvanize our alumni and community and elevate our university on a national scale.”
The last football game played by the Lions was a 14-8 win over Albany State in 1958. The university, then called Florida Normal and Industrial Institute, competed in the Southeastern Athletic Conference. From 1945-58 the team finished with an all-time record of 41 wins, 25 loses and six ties with a break in the 1949 season.
The school will name a head coach sometime this year.