Flutie Dazzles Tech Crowd With Enthusiastic Keynote
By Tom Palermo // April 19, 2013
FLORIDA TECH FOOTBALL
ABOVE VIDEO: Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie was the guest speaker at the second Florida Tech “Inside the Huddle” banquet, hosted by President Tony Catanese on April 17 at the Clemente Center on the Florida Tech campus. The event, which included a VIP cocktail reception and press conference, was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audi of Melbourne.
VIDEO & IMAGES BY CHRISTEY KRAUSE
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Doug Flutie is back!
No, not back in pro football after playing for 21 years and retiring in 2005 – although he looks like he could still suit up on Sundays at 50 years old. Rather, Doug and his family are back as residents of Brevard County, living beach side in south county after residing for more than 37 years in the greater Boston area.
The Heisman Trophy winner was the guest speaker at the second “Inside the Huddle” banquet, hosted by Florida Tech President Dr. Tony Catanese at the Clemente Center on April 17, and presented an immensely interesting and entertaining keynote as he talked about his early days in Brevard, his rise to cult status as a collegiate quarterback, his 21-year pro career and recalling his legendary “Hail Mary” pass with little-know factoids to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 200 Tech football supporters.
‘NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN FIVE YEARS’
The “Inside the Huddle” event was founded last year by Dr. Catanese to promote Florida Tech football and to thank the new program’s generous friends and benefactors.
The proceeding were expertly MC’ed by Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Communications Ryan Jones, who recognized the many VIPs in attendance. Jones then introduced Dr. Catanese who, as usual, was charismatic and engaging as he explained his dedication to athletics as an effective way to build Florida Tech’s reputation as one of the best and fastest-growing universities in America. Dr. Catanese also didn’t miss the opportunity to point out to the audience that Florida Tech now has a total of 21 varsity sports – one more than the University of Florida – which only has 20.
Next on the rostrum was Tech head football coach Steve Englehart who talked passionately about how the football program, which has yet to play its first game, has already provided great opportunity for young men who would otherwise not have a chance to play college football at a Division II level – and also get a quality education at Tech.
Florida Tech is Florida’s only NCAA Division II football school and will play their first game on Sept. 17 as the Panthers take on Stetson at Palm Bay Stadium.
Coach Englehart thanked his dedicated coaches and staff, and because of the outstanding quality of scholar-athlete Tech has recruited, predicted a national championship in less than five years.
PROVING THE ‘EXPERTS’ WRONG
Flutie played college football at Boston College and then in the National Football League, Canadian Football League and United States Football League.
Selected as the 285th pick in the 11th round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the then Los Angeles Rams, he talked about how he had to overcome perceptions of his abilities at both the collegiate and pro levels – proving them all wrong as he was the NCAA’s all-time passing yardage leader with 10,579 yards when he left college in 1984.
In the pro ranks, he played 12 seasons in the National Football League, eight seasons in the Canadian Football League and one season in the United States Football League. He was a six-time CFL Most Outstanding Player Award recipient, a six-time CFL All-Star, named NFL Comeback Player of the Year and played in the 1999 Pro Bowl.
Flutie won three Grey Cup Championships in the CFL and was selected MVP in each of the championship games. In 2006, he was voted the best CFL player of all time by The Sports Network (TSN). He is a member of the Canadian Football, Canada’s Sports and College Football Hall of Fames.
Following his playing career, Flutie served as a color analyst and in-studio analyst for ABC, ESPN College Football and NBC. Most recently, he was an analyst for NBC Sports Network’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVI and is a college football analyst for NBC Sports, along with traveling the country as a high-demand speaker.
Flutie was selected a 2010 Central Florida Humanitarian by Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine for his work with the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism named after his son Dougie, who was diagnosed with autism at three years old.
Doug and his wife Laurie started raising funds for autism in 1998 and established the foundation in 2000.
Since 1998, they have helped raise over $13 million for autism. The Foundation in partnership with Hewlett Packard has also donated hundreds of computers to underprivileged families of children with autism and their school districts in New England and New York.
Flutie thanked his wife Laurie for believing in him during their 35-year relationship, and then told the crowd about how well Dougie is doing at FIT’s Scott Center For Autism. Flutie also said he was now a Panther fan because of Dougie’s involvement at FIT, and looked forward to attending many Tech athletic contests.
SEASON TICKETS ON SALE
Florida Tech is scheduled to play six home games in its inaugural season this fall at Palm Bay High School’s Pirate Stadium. The Panthers will play their first-ever game on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. against Stetson University at Pirate Stadium.
CLICK HERE to view the complete schedule and to purchase season tickets.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A resident of Brevard County, Florida for the past 28 years, Tom Palermo has more than 34 years experience in the media business as a publisher, editor and industry consultant. During his career in both corporate and small business entrepreneurial environments, he has founded dozens of local, state, regional and national print and digital publications.
Palermo has written thousands of articles and columns for daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, trade publications and web sites – and hosted a weekly radio talk show for seven years. In 2005, Palermo founded Maverick Multimedia, Inc, which specializes in niche multimedia publishing and devising comprehensive strategic business and marketing plans.
Maverick Multimedia, Inc. is a Brevard County, Florida-based company that includes properties in publishing, special events and production, sports management, hospitality and business/marketing consulting. Among the company’s holdings is SpaceCoastDaily.com.