Words by Clayton Tinkle
In June the University of North Florida announced extensive upgrades for the UNF Arena, including replacement of the original hardwood floor laid in 1993.
The $2.1 million partnership with the Jacksonville-based CSI Companies is planned to cover seven years and will happen in conjunction with other athletic facility upgrades expected to break ground this summer.
The most noticeable project will be the new UNF Arena floor, which will be known as CSI Companies Court upon completion. The floor will feature the CSI Companies logo and Atlantic Sun Conference logo, as well as new “SWOOP” graphics under each basket. Center court will see an update too with UNF’s banner logo overlaying an outline of the state of Florida. New navy and gray talon graphics will line both sidelines of the court.
In addition to the updated arena floor, renovations are set to begin on new office space, a new sound system, a new weight room and new locker rooms.
The university also confirmed the agreement includes branding on other athletic venues on campus.
Also breaking ground this summer, the Bank of England Hospitality Suite will add a much-needed space to showcase the arena to boosters and potential recruits visiting campus.
The total cost of renovations on campus will be $3.4 million, according to UNF’s Director of Athletics Nick Morrow.
“The CSI Companies agreement is the largest in UNF Athletics history, and it will help fund facility enhancements and provide professional development opportunities for our student-athletes,” Morrow elaborated.
As far as the impact on the men’s basketball program, the ever-animated head coach Matt Driscoll wasn’t shy about how he felt.
“I’m a big believer when you’ve got a hammer, when you’ve got a shovel in the ground [is] when you’ve got things moving.” He continued: “When you’re from ’72, you’re still pretty new. So you’ve got to have that ability to say we are moving forward, and I think when you put a shovel in the ground, that’s the greatest thing in the world.”
Coach Driscoll thinks UNF’s time is now.
“I’ve always said that, and obviously we’ve proven it with three championships. This place has always been a diamond in the rough, but it’s not anymore,” Driscoll exclaimed.
From the CSI Companies’ perspective, the partnership was a no-brainer.
CEO Chris Flakus and CFO Josh Bowling graduated from UNF. Bowling also played basketball for the Ospreys from 2000-2004 before the school transitioned to NCAA Division I competition.
According to UNF, just under 40 current CSI employees graduated from the school with 16 of them being student-athletes during their academic career.
With headquarters on the Southside, CSI Companies provides services to Fortune 500 companies in the fields of technology and talent acquisition.
Bowling commented about what the partnership means for his company. “This marks a pivotal point in our company’s history … The magnitude of this agreement alone speaks to our growth and strategic direction. We’ve been in Jacksonville for more than 20 years, and we wanted our first major sponsorship to be unique and most importantly benefit the local community.”
Bowling wasn’t alone in his praise. “This partnership enhances our commitment to our community and our local college graduates,” Flakus added. “Both CSI and UNF are growing rapidly, and together we can help facilitate bigger and better things.”
The CSI Companies Court is slated to be completed before the upcoming winter sports season.