History was made at St. Thomas University (STU) as the school is launching a football team and marching band for the first time ever.
South Florida’s newest football team, the St. Thomas Bobcats, will begin practice in Spring 2019, while building the capacity to play a full season beginning in Fall 2019. The addition of the football team will be the 15th sports program at the school, which competes in the NAIA.
“We are coming off a very successful season in STU Athletics history, and I feel the addition of football is the next natural step for our athletics program,” said STU President David A. Armstrong. “Football is more than a game. Football has taught me some of the most important lessons in my life—hard work, discipline, a positive attitude—which all lead to great team work and success. Those are all the things that can be taught and learned through programs like football and marching band. And all these things are things this country needs today.”
By adding football and marching band, STU hopes to add upwards of 20 students for football and 10 students for the marching band that would be connected with the programs in Spring 2019. In Fall 2019, the number is expected to grow to 100 football student-athletes and 30 marching band members. The location for an on-campus football facilities, training field, and game-day field are to be determined.
The Bobcats, full-time members of The Sun Conference, will compete in the Mid-South Conference in football in The Sun Division.
Eric Ward, commissioner of the Mid-South Conference, said he was honored and excited to have St. Thomas University join as the eighth football member in the Sun Division.
“Not only will we increase our number to 23 teams in 2019, but will also add to the overall quality of the schools in the conference,” said Ward. “We expect that the STU Bobcats will be competitive quickly in the Sun Division, adding to the overall strength of schedule across the conference. Congratulations to President Armstrong and the university on their unanimous and enthusiastic acceptance by our Council of Presidents. We will do whatever we can to help them through the start-up phase and ultimately to be successful in bringing college football to Miami Gardens.”
Athletic director and STU alumnae, Laura Courtley-Todd ’95, who has been with STU for 22 years, echoed the excitement on campus about football.
“Adding football is a tremendous opportunity for South Florida high school students who want to continue playing football and stay close to home,” said Courtley-Todd. “Plus, the vibe of football on a college campus is exactly the type of school spirit our campus and community is looking for. With football, we have a unique opportunity to become an even bigger driving force in the South Florida sports community, and bring visibility to our campus.”
At Wednesday’s announcement, special guests included former Miami Dolphins players: Nat Moore, Jason Taylor, O.J. McDuffie, Dick Anderson, Sam Madison, and Larry Little. Also in attendance were: Mitch Morrall and Eric Poms of the Orange Bowl Committee; Dustin Wilke, commissioner of the Sun Conference; Eric Ward, commissioner of the Mid-South Conference; and the Mayor of Miami Gardens Oliver Gilbert.
For more information about the STU Football program, click here.
For more information about the STU Marching Band, click here.