Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic Owls
University Florida Atlantic University
Conference Conference USA
NCAA Division I / FBS
Athletic director Patick Chun
Location Boca Raton, Florida
Varsity teams 18 (8 men's; 10 women's)
Football stadium FAU Stadium
Basketball arena FAU Arena
Baseball stadium FAU Baseball Stadium
Softball stadium FAU Softball Stadium
Mascot Owlsley the burrowing owl
Nickname Owls
Fight song FAU Fight Song
Colors Blue and Red[1]
Website fausports.com

The Florida Atlantic Owls are the athletics teams of Florida Atlantic University. The Owls participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I as members of Conference USA. Florida Atlantic has attracted high-profile coaches for various sports, including Howard Schnellenberger for football and Mike Jarvis for basketball. Former coaches include Matt Doherty, Rex Walters, and Sidney Green. The director of athletics is Patrick Chun.

The Owls

The logo and mascot of Florida Atlantic University's athletic teams is the burrowing owl. Owlsley is the name of the mascot for Florida Atlantic University. The presence of this bird has been popular on the land of the university, even preceding the construction of FAU. At the dedication ceremony in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson even made notice and reference to the popular presence of the bird.[2] In 1971, the National Audubon Society designated FAU's land an official owl sanctuary, honoring the tradition of the bird's presence and moving to protect the birds from attempts to expand construction of the university. Owls are still dominant in their presence on the Boca Raton campus to this day. With the addition of intercollegiate athletics in the mid-1980s, the university used the bird as its mascot - an animal that denotes wisdom, determination and cognizance.

Sports teams

A member of Conference USA, FAU sponsors teams in eight men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[3]

  1. The men's swim team competes as a member of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.
  2. Beach volleyball is a fully sanctioned NCAA sport which had its first national championship in the spring of 2016.[4] FAU's team is a member of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.

Varsity sports


FAU Stadium, current home of the Owls football team
See also: FAU Stadium

Florida Atlantic University fielded its first football team in 2001, coached by Miami and Louisville coach Howard Schnellenberger. Their first game was a 40–7 loss against Slippery Rock University on September 1, 2001. After just four seasons of existence, the Owls jumped from Division I-AA (now FCS) competition to Division I-A (now FBS), joining the Sun Belt Conference. Through the 2008 season, after eight years of competing in football, the Owls are 47–47 overall. In 2007 they competed in their first bowl game, the New Orleans Bowl, where they defeated the Memphis Tigers 44–27. In 2008, the Owls competed in their second straight bowl game, the Motor City Bowl, where they defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas by a score of 24–21.

In 2010, quarterback Rusty Smith became the first FAU player to be drafted.

The Owls opened their new on-campus FAU Stadium on October 15, 2011, against Western Kentucky.

The Owls' natural rival are the Florida International Golden Panthers, who are located just 50 miles from Florida Atlantic and also compete in Conference USA. The rivals meet annually in a conference match up named the Shula Bowl, after Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula.[5] The first Shula Bowl was played in 2002 at the Miami Dolphins' Pro Player Stadium (now Sun Life Stadium), and since alternated between FAU at Sun Life Stadium and FIU Stadium annually; the first game in the series at the Owls' new stadium was in 2012. FAU leads the all-time series ten games to four.

On December 5, 2011, the football program hired its second coach in its history; former University of Nebraska Defensive Coordinator, Carl Pelini. On December 16, 2013, the program hired its third coach in its history; Charlie Partridge.


Florida Atlantic Baseball fielded its first squad in 1981. Since inception FAU has had only three coaches. Kevin Cooney, most successful coach in school history, was the Florida Atlantic head baseball coach from 1988 through 2008. By many accounts, Cooney built a mid-major dynasty in the baseball world. University of Cincinnati head coach Brian Cleary called FAU "one of the country's best baseball programs," and added, "it's been an incredibly successful program over the last several years."[6] Coach Cooney won his 800th career game on March 15, 2006, when FAU played Columbia. At FAU, Cooney won more than 700 games.

The Owls baseball team plays its home games at FAU Baseball Stadium.[7]

Currently the Owls are coached by long-time assistant for Cooney, John McCormack. McCormack was an assistant under Cooney at FAU for 18 seasons.

30 years of Florida Atlantic baseball:


The Burrow

FAU basketball began play in 1988 and in its 19+ seasons has experienced limited success, marred with frequent coaching changes. Along with the other FAU athletics teams, basketball entered the Sun Belt Conference in the 2006–2007 season, and has shown signs of maturing into a national competitor. The Owls competed on the Division II level from 1988 to 1993 before joining the Atlantic Sun Conference when moving to Division I in the 1993–1994 season.

The Owls were coached by Rex Walters in 2006–2008, a former standout at Kansas. Walters played a major role in the Jayhawks' run to the Final Four in 1993. Coach Walters became the 6th head coach of FAU basketball, after Matt Doherty left the university a year into his tenure to coach at SMU.

The Owls are currently coached by Mike Jarvis, who was hired in May 2008.

The Owls play at FAU Arena, commonly referred to as The Burrow.


In 2007, their first year as a member in the Sun Belt Conference, the FAU women's softball team became Sun Belt Conference champions winning both the Sun Belt regular-season and the Sun Belt tournament title. Florida Atlantic University is only the second Sun Belt champion in league history, knocking off defending champions Louisiana-Lafayette, which had won the first seven Sun Belt titles.[9] Additionally, the Lady Owls were only one of two teams to win their final post season game.[10] Coach Joan Joyce was named the Sun Belt's Coach of the Year after guiding the Owls to the top of the conference.[11] Prior to joining the Sun Belt Conference, FAU softball had won nine Atlantic Sun Conference titles in the previous 10 years.[12]


Florida International

The rivalry between FAU and Florida International University was born in 2002, when FIU's newly formed football program signed on to an annual matchup with FAU, alternating between home fields. The game was come to be called the Shula Bowl. All-time, FAU leads the football series. On the basketball court, FIU has been on the better part of the rivalry, leading the all-time series 8–11. In the 2006–07 season, FAU swept the season series (3 games).

Troy University

Troy University has been a long-time rival of FAU, as both schools participated in the Atlantic Sun Conference and now both moved to the Sun Belt Conference. Both schools' baseball teams constantly competed as top programs in the Atlantic Sun, and currently both maintain that elite status in Sun Belt baseball competition. Along with baseball, football and basketball also share in the rivalry. Both programs' football teams cracked the surface as Division I-A competitors around the same time. (FAU created a team in 2001 and joined D-IA in 2004; Troy moved from Division I-AA to D-IA in 2003.) Although FAU football has seen unprecedented success at such a rapid pace against Sun Belt competition, Troy had beaten FAU in all 3 of their football meetings, inciting the rivalry. However, in 2007, FAU defeated Troy in the final game of the season, winning the Sun Belt Conference, and earning a spot in the New Orleans Bowl, the fastest ascent to a bowl game in D-IA history.


Owlsley the owl is the official mascot of Florida Atlantic.

Fight song: The Florida Atlantic University fight song was created in 2004, in response to the university's growing football program. FAU fielded its first marching band in the 2002 football season, collectively called the Florida Atlantic Marching Owls.


FAU Owls home and road games for football and basketball can be heard locally (the "tri-county area" of South Florida - Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties) on ESPN 760 AM on the radio and on the station's webstream.[14] The voice of Owls football is part-time ESPN's Ken LaVicka who shares commentary duties for Owls basketball with Palm Beach radio sportscaster Evan Cohen. All football and basketball games can be heard live on FAU's website, as well.

Occasional football and basketball games are broadcast by ESPN Plus, the pay-per-view service from ESPN. These games are available through the ESPN GamePlan and ESPN Full Court premium packages. There is also one football game and one basketball game aired on ESPNU per season. The 2006 seasons saw FAU football play Clemson and FAU basketball play North Carolina on ESPNU.

Hall of Fame

For an alphabetical list of inductees, see footnote[15]

The Florida Atlantic University Athletic Hall of Fame inducted its inaugural class of members in 2006.[15]

Inaugural class of 2006:


  1. "FAU Visual Standards Manual" (PDF). Florida Atlantic University: University Communications and Marketing. Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  2. "President Johnson Dedicates Florida Atlantic University". FAU. Retrieved 2006-05-18.
  3. "Florida Atlantic Owls Official Athletic Site - Florida Atlantic University". fausports.com.
  4. "NCAA DII, DIII membership approves Sand Volleyball as 90th championship". NCAA. January 17, 2015. Retrieved April 5, 2015.
  5. "FAU/ FIU Football Trophy Named the Don Shula Award". cstv.com.
  6. "Baseball to kick off season Friday - Sports". The News Record. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  7. FAU Baseball Stadium at fausports.com, URL accessed June 28, 2010. Archived 06-28-10
  8. "2006-07 Florida Atlantic Basketball Media Guide - Sports" (PDF). FAU Athletics, p. 31. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
  9. "Broken Wings: Owls Left Out of NCAA Regional". cstv.com.
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20070927193419/http://dnj.midsouthnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070513/SPORTS/705130315/1006. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2007. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "University Press : We have spirit, yes we do, we have spirit…wait, we do?". upressonline.com.
  12. https://web.archive.org/web/20111107122429/http://www.espn760.com/. Archived from the original on November 7, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. 1 2 "Florida Atlantic Hall of Fame". Florida Atlantic Owls official athletics site. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
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