It's a story born out of a Disney movie. You know the one, with the heroic coach and the battle-scarred team who overcome the odds to win the big game. But Jeremy Foley '74 is no movie director; he's a force of nature, dominating the rough competition on the field and the pressure of managing a multi-million dollar business with equal flair.
In 1976, Foley got his start with a handful of ticket-stubs outside the University of Florida's massive stadium. Thirty years later he was at the head of one of the most successful athletic programs in the nation, a multi-sport powerhouse that dominates the collegiate athletics landscape like a colossus.
In 2006, with Foley as Director of Athletics at the University of Florida, the program earned national titles in men's basketball and football in the same calendar year: the first time in collegiate athletics history. In March 2007, the men's basketball team won the national championship again, becoming the first team in 15 years to win back-to-back titles.
On Friday, April 25, Foley received the Hobart Alumni Association's Medal of Excellence. The honor 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.
At HWS, Foley was a psychology major, and played on the 1972 lacrosse team, the first squad of Statesmen to win a national championship. He also played football and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. After graduation, he coached and scouted for the Hobart lacrosse program and earned a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University. In 1976, Foley began his career in sports management as an intern in the University of Florida ticket office. He held several different positions in the Gators' athletic department including ticket manager, director of game operations, assistant athletic director, associate athletic director for business affairs, and interim athletic director before being appointed as athletic director in 1992. The University of Florida athletic program is ranked as one of the top in the nation, thanks to Foley's tireless effort.
As chief financial officer for the University Athletic Association, Foley helped make Gator athletics profitable by eliminating a $750,000 debt and has been the driving force behind the investment of more than $90.7-million in capital improvements. Foley also played a role in the $4.1-million academic advising center on the Gainesville campus, assisted in funding the $10-million renovation of the Stephen C. O'Connell Center and is currently spearheading a $50-million renovation of the football stadium.
Foley's dedication and commitment earned him a place from 1997 to 2002 on the prestigious NCAA Division I Management Council – arguably the most prestigious committee within NCAA – which oversees all the cabinets and committees, and also includes representatives from the schools, such as athletic directors and faculty advisers.
Beyond his commitment to the University of Florida, Foley finds time to be actively involved with the local Humane Society and makes numerous public appearances with local charities and youth organizations.
The Medal of Excellence ceremony was held in the Robert A. Bristol Field House.