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“I could have never imagined the success we have had in such a short time. The (Athletics) department has undergone tremendous growth that mirrors the university. In addition to the great support from the university, the community has done a tremendous job of getting involved in athletics.”

— David Deiros, FGCU’s founding and current head softball coach, in a story for the publication, “FGCU: The First Decade”


This year began a new chapter in Florida Gulf Coast University history as President William C. Merwin named Carl McAloose the University’s first director of athletics. Intercollegiate athletics began with competition in men’s and women’s golf and tennis (the tennis complex opened in 2000 as the first athletics facility on campus) for the 2000-01 academic year.

FGCU had planned to apply for NCAA Division II status in the spring of 2000, but the NCAA placed a two-year moratorium on all memberships. The Eagles would join the less-restrictive NAIA a year later so its young teams could begin competing for postseason championships.

Co-written by James Lilliefors, Janet Johnson and Jack Crocker, founding dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the alma mater’s unveiling for the first formal University occasion occurred at the May 2000 graduation ceremony. The words and music appeared in the bulletin, and the graduating class of 2000 was the first to perform “Where Our Wings Will Take Us.” It is now the anthem for every FGCU graduate. The lyrics:

“We salute our alma mater
For she gave us wings to fly
We have learned the wind’s great secrets
How to soar with our minds.

“As we wear our colors proudly
Emerald green and royal blue
Here’s to friends and to memories
Made at FGCU.

(Chorus)
”So fly, fly, fly, Eagles
Where our wings will take us
Fly far, fly high
Eagles fly.

“Now we face a new horizon
Strong of spirit, keen of eye
As we make our journey onward
We will go with Eagle pride.

“O’er the river of grass
And the gulf’s azure glow
We can fly just as far
As our dreams let us go!

(Chorus)

“Let us spread our wings proudly
We have learned to soar high
O’er the pines and the palms
Through the glorious sky.

“Ride the winds of inspiration
O’er this land of green and blue
Ne’er forget our alma mater
Hail to FGCU.”

(Chorus)

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LET THE GAMES BEGIN

FGCU’s intercollegiate athletics program begins with competition in men’s and women’s golf and tennis (the tennis complex opened in 2000 as the first athletics facility on campus) for the 2000-01 academic year.

NAIA GETS NEW MEMBER

FGCU, wanting its young teams to be eligible to compete for postseason championships, made plans to join the NAIA, a less-restrictive governing body than the NCAA.

Of FGCU we sing

The alma mater’s unveiling for the first formal University occasion occurred at the May 2000 graduation ceremony. The words and music appeared in the bulletin, and the graduating class of 2000 was the first to perform “Where Our Wings Will Take Us.” It is now the anthem for every FGCU graduate.