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Football Kickoff Luncheon

11:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26 — Civic Center

Good afternoon! Welcome! It’s great to see you all here today!

First, I’d like to recognize my wife, Jean. Jean loves Florida State as much as I do, and I want to thank her for all that she does to support this university.

I’d also like to thank the families of the coaches, managers and trainers for giving up their evenings and weekends together during these busy months. We appreciate your support of the team and Florida State University!

This is such an exciting time of year! On Monday, nearly 42,000 students — including my granddaughter — will begin classes.

This fall, we’ll unveil a five-year, strategic plan that outlines a vision and goals that will lift our preeminent university even higher.

Of course, fall also means football, and I couldn’t be more excited about this season!

These guys right here are a group of elite student-athletes — the best in the nation. I think we all know that with Dalvin Cook’s numbers, he should have won the Heisman last year.

And Sean Maguire. His grit and determination serve as a great example for his teammates and all of us.

The whole team has been working hard this preseason. I know they’re ready to head to Orlando to get that first win Sept. 5 in the season opener against Ole Miss!

I have complete confidence that Coach Fisher and his staff will lead this team to accomplish great things this year.

SHOWTIME believes it, too. They wanted to give television audiences a behind-the-scenes look at a true football powerhouse for a weekly documentary series. So they came to FSU.

Their producers are promising an unfiltered, look at our football program. Which is another way of saying Coach Trickett is keeping the guy with the bleep button a little busy!

I think what America will see is a team of players and coaches that is more like a family. They’ll see a team that works hard and has a lot of heart. And, yeah, we like to win.

We expect excellence here at Florida State. I’m talking about excellence on and off the field.

I’m so glad Stan mentioned academic achievement because I’ll take it a step further:

We had 87 student-athletes make the Dean’s List last spring alone, and 19 who made the President’s List with a 4.0 GPA.

252 student-athletes had a GPA over 3.0 in the spring, and 12 of our 18 athletic teams had team GPA’s over 3.0.

We have true student-athletes here who achieve just as highly in the classroom as they do in athletic competition. That should make us all proud.

And we can be proud of the volunteer work all of our students do — including our student athletes. Did you know that last year, we had 7,000 students donate about 370,000 service hours to the community?! That’s equivalent to a $3 million investment in our community.

It’s probably easy for our students to accomplish all the things they do when they have such great role models in our faculty and staff AND our coaches.

I hope you all saw the stories just a few weeks ago about Coach Fisher and Coach Trickett organizing donations of equipment to help the schools in West Virginia that suffered from flooding.

It was a great example of leadership that I really appreciate. Of course, I’m not sure it was any more courageous than Jimbo sitting in the stands in Gainesville to cheer on the baseball team at the Super Regional, but he’ll have to tell us that.

I’m excited about this football team. I’m excited about our No. 1 women’s soccer team and our volleyball team, which have already gotten started. And I am excited and proud of where Florida State University stands today.

This is going to be a great year, and you can help us to be even better.

Let’s show the world something that I know is true — that we have the best alumni, boosters and fans anywhere in college athletics!

If you wear the garnet and gold, please show respect for others on game day and every day. That means welcoming our visitors to campus and proving that we can win with class.

Thanks, everyone, and good luck to all the players and coaches. We’ll be cheering for you. Go Noles!