WATCH: Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Dr. Jim Richey Established Eastern Florida State as Athletic Juggernaut
By Space Coast Daily // July 31, 2023
DR. JIM RICHEY: 2016 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
ABOVE VIDEO: Dr. Jim Richey recognized a need on the Space Coast when he was named president of Eastern Florida State College in 2012. The college’s 11 varsity programs are the most in the 24-member Florida College System Activities Association. Many of the teams are nationally ranked with the women’s soccer team twice playing for the NJCAA national championship. (Editor’s note: This video was produced in 2016)
2016 SPORTS DEVELOPMENT INDUCTEE
SOCCER IS ‘BIG DEAL’
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Dr. Jim Richey recognized a need on the Space Coast when he was named president of Eastern Florida State College in 2012.
“I knew that Brevard County loved sports across the board,” he said. “I also knew that soccer was a very big deal in this area, so adding a soccer program was a high priority.”
Richey added varsity programs in men’s and women’s soccer at EFSC, as well as men’s and women’s tennis and women’s golf.
The college’s 11 varsity programs are the most in the 24-member Florida College System Activities Association. Many of the teams are nationally ranked with the women’s soccer team twice playing for the NJCAA national championship.
A number of games are broadcast live on WEFS-TV to sports fans across Central Florida and streamed nationally via webcast on the college’s sports website.
“That TV station hits 11 counties and 3.2 million people potentially,” Richey said. “It’s great for the Titan brand, for the institution to fully utilize a really good product – our teams and great facilities – with a professional TV station.”
EFSC PITCH BEST IN FLORIDA
The popularity of the soccer programs also created another need: A place to play instead of sharing space at the Brevard County Parks and Recreation complex in Viera.
“We knew we really needed a home,” Richey said.
So, he constructed an athletic complex on the Melbourne campus with new or upgraded facilities for soccer, tennis, softball, baseball, basketball and volleyball.
The Titan Soccer Complex has hosted NJCAA national tournaments and Florida high school state championships that have pumped millions of dollars into the local economy through visitor spending.
Richey said the added varsity sports broadens the appeal of the college not just to athletes but to other students as well.
“It’s important that when students come to a college or university, they find something that they are interested in,” he said.
“One of those things, of course, is athletics for people to really feel comfortable. If they feel comfortable right from the get-go, they are much more likely to want to be here, work hard and graduate.”
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com.
CLICK HERE to see all the members of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.