Donors Fund Foundation For Panthers Football Program

By  //  May 31, 2012


BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – A dozen donors have pledged to help launch a new era for Florida Tech Athletics – by each donating $100,000 to the new Panthers Football Program. 

The first 12 members of the Panthers Football Founders Club have each pledged $100,000 to lay critical foundations for the success of Florida Tech's new football program (Image courtesy Florida Tech)

They have collectively committed $1.2 million – a crucial amount for the university as Florida Tech seeks to establish itself as a major player in college football.

These 12 donors are the first members of the Panthers Football Founders Club.

Season Tickets Available

Their extreme generousity means the Panthers can lay down the critical foundations for competitive play as a member of the Gulf South Conference, that begins in Fall 2013.

Season tickets are now available for the first time.

Founder Members

The founder members of the  Panthers Football Club were introduced and honored at a special banquet hosted May 25 by Florida Tech president Dr. Tony Catanese.

“This is a very exciting time for us all as we embark on this great journey to bring college football to our campus.” said Dr. Anthony Catanese. (Florida Tech image)

“These outstanding individuals have demonstrated their support not only for football, but also for Florida Tech and for our community,” Catanese said.

“We are honored by their contributions and grateful for their leadership.”

Chief operating officer and executive vice president is T. Dwayne McCay.

He commented: “Successfully establishing our Founders Club was a critical first step in building our football boosters effort.

“This gives us tremendous community momentum as we look forward to kick off in 2013.”

‘Inside The Huddle’

The banquet featured legendary football coach Howard Schnellenberger as keynote speaker for the event, which was entitled “Inside The Huddle.”

Schnellenberger won two Super Bowls and four national championships in five decades as an NFL and NCAA coach.

Head Football Coach Steve Englehart gave his overview of the Florida Tech Football Program

The banquet also saw Head Football Coach Steve Englehart give his overview of the program’s development as the Panthers prepare for their competitive debut in the last quarter of 2013.

Matt Kilcullen Jr., assistant vice president for athletic fundraising, said: “We continue to welcome additional support from the community.

“This is a terrific time to invest in the future of Florida Tech Athletics.”

Founders Club Members and Quotes

Stephen K. Badolato, M.D., Premier Sports Medicine:

Stephen K. Badolato

“This is a remarkable time in the history of the Florida Tech Panthers athletic program. The chance to support the new football program is an honor and privilege.

“The advent of Panther Football is exciting for our community and will be sure to add even more members to an already loyal fan base.

“This is a unique opportunity to support a program that will shed even more light on one of the best academic universities in the entire country, right here in our own backyard.”

Thomas Biddix, Biddix Charity Foundation:

Thomas Biddix

“My wife and I are honored and proud to be part of this FIT major milestone. With our three boys born and raised in Brevard County, this is something they will cherish forever.”

Carol Craig, Craig Technologies:

Carol Craig

“It’s exciting to be in on the ground floor of the next step in Florida Tech’s evolution. I’m pleased to support football at our hometown university.”

John Fielding:

John Fielding

“Having grown up in this area, I have firsthand knowledge of the positive influence Florida Tech has on this community. It has undertaken every endeavor with the highest level of commitment and perseverance.

“I am proud to be even a small part of its introduction of college football to Brevard County.  As dictated by its rich history, I am confident that Florida Tech will achieve a highly successful program with exhaustive dedication and community support.”

Chip Lafferty, Hill York:

Chip Lafferty

“An excellent university plays a major role in the overall well-being of the community in which it resides. Florida Institute of Technology is one such university! With a curriculum that has a major orientation in the aerospace industry, FIT enriches the lives of the citizens and businesses of Brevard County.

“A strong football team is one more key to rounding out the cohesive role that FIT serves in the community. As a local business interested in Making Life More Comfortable for the community’s citizens, Hill York considers it a privilege to be a member of the Football Founders Club.”

Bruce Nelson Jr., Brevard County Hyundai:

Bruce Nelson

“I am very excited about the addition of college football at FIT and being a part of getting it up and running! This will have a very positive impact not only for the students and the campus community, but for everyone who lives in Brevard County.”

Steve Ryland, Beachside Health Studio:

Steve Ryland

“This is good for Florida Tech and it’s good for Brevard. Panther football will be an excellent addition to our community.”

 Mahesh “Mike” Shah, Southeast Petro Distributors, Inc./M&R Enterprises, Inc.:

Mahesh "Mike" Shah

“I am very much excited and feel privileged that I was asked to be a part of football’s start at FIT—a team sport that is action-packed. Go Panthers!”

Scott Sorensen, Sorensen Corporation:

Scott Sorensen

“Brevard is a dynamic community, and creating a football program at Florida Tech is something that everyone can get excited about.  I look forward to the positive impact it will have both economically and socially.”

Mike Valletutti:

Mike Valletutti

“Having grown up in Merritt Island and returning after college, I jumped at the chance to help FIT build a football program. Sports bring in away visitors for games, exposing them to our wonderful community, which leads to an increase in our county’s population.

“And I can’t think of a more football-friendly area than Brevard County.”

 Tony Weight:

Tony Weight

“Football is a natural for Florida Tech. Having seen first hand what Dr. Catanese accomplished with Coach Schnellenberger at FAU, there isn’t any doubt in my mind that he and Coach Englehart can accomplish the same type of success at FIT!  I am thrilled to be a part of it!”

Mike Williams, M.H. Williams Construction Group, Inc.:

Mike Williams

“Florida Tech is a growing institution and resource not only for Central Florida, but for the world.  Building a first-class football program at a world-class university will benefit everyone.”

For additional information on athletic fundraising contact Kilcullen at or 321-674-8427