Jeremy Foley will stay on as Athletic Director through November 1, a one month extension, but Stricklin will assume his duties as Florida’s Athletic leader at that point.
The recipient of the 2015-16 Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year Award by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Stricklin is young and has a penchant for making facilities a priority. That is something the current administration has made a focal point in the last 12-15 months.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity at Florida," Stricklin said in a prepared statement released by the UAA. "I'm an SEC guy. I understand the position Florida holds in college athletics. I'm excited to come and be part of the department. It's a great staff here to work with. I love college towns. The opportunity to come and get invested in another community, with my family, you start balancing all that and you understand at this point in my career, this is an opportunity you just can't not do."
Recent upgrades of facilities at MSU where he graduated from include $11.7 million Mize Pavilion at the basketball facility, $25 million improvements to their football complex, and a $75 million expansion to the football stadium. Softball and golf also started upgrades this year to the tune of $8.8 million. There is also a plan to upgrade the baseball facility for an estimated $40 million.
Florida is in the midst of a $107 million dollar upgrade which includes the newly built football indoor practice facility major renovations to the O’Connell Center multi-purpose facility and a new academic center for athletes on campus.
The athletic budget for Mississippi State was approximately $75 million last year while Florida’s hovers around the $150 million mark and almost double. Stricklin should have a lot more to work with at Florida.
The Jackson, Miss., native, who has spent 23-plus years in the Southeastern Conference, spearheaded over $140 million in facility improvements while leading MSU, as well as significant increases in booster club membership and donations and the highest-ever Learfield Director's Cup finish in school history. MSU's student-athletes have also excelled academically under Stricklin's leadership, posting a combined 3.0 GPA in 2014-15, marking the highest in MSU's history.
"I couldn't have left for any other place but Florida" Stricklin said. "It's just a special place not only in the world of the SEC, but in college athletics because of the success they've had and the way they've had it with the integrity. Florida holds a leadership position in college athletics. And you look at the academic reputation, it's one of the best universities in the country. That's a pretty hard combination to not take the opportunity if it's offered to you."
Stricklin will replace a legend of sorts in Foley who has guided the Gator programs to elite status nationally as a group. Foley knows Stricklin well and believes he is the right guy for the job.
"I've known Scott on a personal and professional level for a long, long time," Foley said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Scott and what he has accomplished at Mississippi State and the other institutions where he has worked. Scott is a wonderful leader, and a great person. He has passion for student-athletes and loves working with and supporting coaches. Those two qualities alone make him a great fit for Florida.
"Scott is about the right things and running the business the right way," Foley added. "I have the utmost confidence that Scott will help the Gators carry out our mission to provide a championship experience with integrity. We've sat in the room together at AD meetings for several years now, and I've seen firsthand that Scott brings a deep understanding and appreciation for what it takes to run a successful athletic program, particularly in the Southeastern Conference. I couldn't be more excited to have Scott serve as the next athletic director at the University of Florida."
STRICKLIN’S PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:
* May 7, 2010-Present: Mississippi State [Athletic Director]
* 2008-2010: Mississippi State [External Affairs]
* 2003-2008: Kentucky [Media Relations]
* 1999-2003: Baylor [Communications & Marketing]
* 1998: Tulane [Media Relations]
* 1993-1998: Auburn [Media Relations]
* 1990-1992: Mississippi State [Media Relations (baseball)]Stay tuned for more coverage on Florida’s new Athletic Director here at Fightin’ Gators.
Mississippi State, 1992, Bachelor's of Science in Marketing
DATE OF BIRTH:
May 8, 1970 in Jackson, Miss.
Married to former Anne Howell, the youngest daughter of Basketball Hall of Fame member Bailey Howell. The couple has two daughters, Abby and Sophie.
Stay tuned to Fightin’ Gators as we gather more on Florida’s new Athletic Director.