FORT MYERS, Fla.- Weeks before Edison State College officially begins building its first athletic program since 1997, the head of the new program spoke first with WINK News.
Carl McAloose, also the inaugural athletic director at Florida Gulf Coast University, spoke about the challenges and excitement that lie ahead.
"There is nothing more exhilarating than starting a program from scratch," McAloose said. "We had so much fun doing it at FGCU. I anticipate the exact same thing there at Edison."
McAloose is currently the athletic director at Clayton State University in Georgia. Edison State College won't have its first sporting event until fall 2015, but McAloose will have plenty of work ahead of him when he arrives in southwest Florida later this month.
Edison State has no athletic facilities. McAloose will also need to hire coaches and begin fundraising efforts.
McAloose said he hopes to bring in athletes from around the world, however, "We're going to start recruiting, of course, right here in our own back yard," he said.
Jeff Stewart, who chaired the search committee for the new athletic director, said McAloose was not recruited for the school. He applied.
"What separated Carl from the rest of the group was his experience in southwest Florida, but also his experience in building an athletic program from the ground floor," Stewart said.
The biggest challenge for McAloose could be drumming up support among a relatively unenthusiastic student body.
"I think the school is pretty bland at the moment," said student Connor Fleishell. "anything can spice it up."
As soon as McAloose arrives in southwest Florida, he and Edison State will start aggressively promoting the new program.
"The thing that sports does -- an athletic program does is really bring a university together," McAloose said. "I think this is really going to help that."
By the time Edison State starts its athletic program, the school will be known as Florida Southwestern State College. The mascot will be a Buccaneer.
If all goes according to plan, men's baseball, women's softball and men's and women's basketball teams will be playing by next fall.