Jan. 27, 2001
Boca Raton News
To hold off official visits until after December is a chancy strategy. Yet, the Tom Oxley Center is now complete to give recruits a truer picture of all that lies ahead.
On Fridays in January, young recruits come from Clewiston, Pahokie, Belle Glade, Homestead, Vero Beach, and as far away as Atlanta, GA. Some arrive confident, others with trepidation. Some come alone, and others bring their parents.
Our recruiting philosophy is atypical. We pride ourselves on doing little or no direct recruiting. Our aim is to use 48-hours to provide a capsulized view of what it is to be an FAU student athlete.
Athletic Ambassadors greet each recruit and lead everyone to dinner on the waterfront. At The Cove, prospects meet student athlete hosts and begin to experience the most important aspect of their visit - student social life.
We gather for breakfast at Watercolors in the Raddison Bridge Resort. Players' families and friends will rendezvous here on Friday nights in anticipation of each home game to be played at 4:00 the next day, just 30 minutes south. This is our Owl's Den.
Riding along the beach, recruits enter FAU from the north and see the proposed site of our on-campus stadium. At the Oxley Center we divide into three groups, one takes a campus tour, another receives academic orientation, and, the third meets with trainers and Dr. Levin. We rotate to allow everyone to touch all bases.
We emulate game day and leave for Pro Player Stadium at midday. Players enter the gate used by the Miami Dolphins. Ambling through the tunnel, we assemble in the home team locker room, just as the Dolphins do. Each recruit sits before what could be his locker.
Nearing the playing field, the young men hear fight songs. Each transforms into a titan as he hears his name announced over the PA system, runs on to the field, and sees his picture flashing on the Jumbotron. Standing on the playing surface, he feels that he's entered the Grand Canyon, surrounded by tall cliffs. He visualizes 42,000 cheering fans.
We tour luxury suites and stop at Mr. Huizenga's impressive box that splits the 50-yard line. We see the press box where media will chronicle each play. Before leaving, we walk through club and grandstand seating.
Athletes use quiet time at the Raddison to gather thoughts and compare notes. Student hosts take them to dinner and for a sampling of social life.
Sleep doesn't come easy tonight. A second day of evaluation awaits them in the morning.
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