This year, University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley will become the 34th recipient of the Hobart College Alumni Association's Medal of Excellence. The Medal of Excellence is the Association's highest honor and is awarded to an alumnus who, by reason of outstanding accomplishments in his particular business, profession or community service, has brought honor and distinction to his alma mater.
“The Medal of Excellence means a great deal to me,” Foley says. “Anyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel about the Colleges, about what Hobart means to me.”
Foley will receive the Medal on the heels of leading his athletic program to national titles in both men's basketball and football in the same calendar year. He is the first to do so in collegiate athletics history, accomplishing the feat in 2006. In addition, in late March of 2007 the men's basketball team won the nationals again, becoming the first team in 15 years to win back-to-back titles.
Foley credits his success to his experiences at Hobart. “Being a part of Hobart Lacrosse, being around those practices, around those locker rooms, around quality athletes and around a championship coaching staff – it was a culture,” Foley explains. “You learned through other people, through team chemistry. It was a culture of winning.”
That culture helped Foley and his teammates win Hobart Lacrosse's first National Championship in 1972, a memory that still remains dear to Foley. “It was one of the highlights of my life,” he says. “It was a special year, one we still talk about it.”
When asked about his current success, Foley is quick to credit the University of Florida. “I work for a great institution that can attract good coaches and those coaches can attract good athletes,” he says. “It's a great town and a great state with good resources for athletics. It's a special place.”
During his tenure, 12 Gator athletic teams have won national titles. During the 06-07 academic year, 11 teams finished in the top ten of their respective sports, five in the top five. Foley has been able to create an environment for athletic success without sacrificing academics. Since Foley took on the AD role in 1992, 66 University of Florida student-athletes have been honored as Academic All-Americans, the fourth highest total among all Division I colleges. In the past year alone, 187 University of Florida students were named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
The Medal of Excellence will be awarded to Foley in a ceremony next spring. Details about the actual date and location of the event will be announced in the coming weeks. The last Medal of Excellence was last awarded in 2005 to Lincoln Center President Reynold Levy '66.