North Florida Ospreys
|North Florida Ospreys|
|University||University of North Florida|
|Conference||Atlantic Sun Conference|
|Athletic director||Lee Moon|
|Basketball arena||UNF Arena|
|Baseball stadium||Harmon Stadium|
|Soccer stadium||Hodges Stadium|
|Other arenas||Hayt Golf Learning Center|
|Fight song||UNF Fight Song|
|Colors||Navy Blue and Gray
The North Florida Ospreys are the athletic teams of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. The Ospreys compete in the Atlantic Sun Conference in NCAA Division I. UNF became a full-fledged member of Division I in 2009; previously, the Ospreys were members of the Sunshine State Conference and Peach Belt Conference in NCAA Division II. UNF fields teams in seven men's sports and ten women's sports.
|Men's Intercollegiate Sports||Team Article||Head Coach||Women's Intercollegiate Sports||Team Article||Head Coach|
|Baseball||Ospreys baseball||Tim Parenton||Basketball||Ospreys women's basketball||Darrick Gibbs|
|Basketball||Ospreys men's basketball||Matthew Driscoll||Beach volleyball [v 1]||Samantha Dabbs|
|Cross Country||Jeff Pigg||Cross Country||Jeff Pigg|
|Golf||Scott Schroeder||Golf||Joanne Berglund|
|Soccer||Derek Marinatos||Soccer||Robin Confer|
|Tennis||Mark Finnegan||Softball||Marcie Hickey|
|Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor)||Jeff Pigg||Swimming and Diving [v 2]||Ian Coffey|
|Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor)||Jeff Pigg|
The University of North Florida's intercollegiate athletics program began in 1983, originally as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Ospreys joined NCAA Division II in 1993, the same year the UNF Arena opened. Initially, UNF competed in the Sunshine State Conference, and then in 1997 moved to the Peach Belt Conference. In 2005, the Ospreys began the transition to Division I, joining the Atlantic Sun Conference. The transition's final year was the 2008-09 season, with UNF becoming tournament eligible beginning in the 2009-10 season.
UNF is a non-football school. However, the prospect of an Osprey football team is a popular topic among students and the community. In 2013, UNF President John Delaney revealed the school would begin preliminary discussions about adding the sport.
UNF won the Sunshine State Conference's all-sports title four times and won four NAIA national titles—men's golf in 1991 and 1993, and women's tennis in 1986 and 1994. UNF's first Division I conference title came in 2008 when the men's golf team captured the Atlantic Sun crown.
In February 2009, UNF hired Lee Moon to be the new athletic director. He is UNF's sixth athletic director and previously worked at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Wyoming, and Marshall University. Since taking over UNF athletics, he has made many staff changes to move the program forward.
On July 16, 2014, UNF released updated logos and a custom font to represent the Ospreys across all sports.
The men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball teams play in 5,800 seat UNF Arena, opened in 1993. UNF's men's and women's soccer, track and field, and cross country teams play at Hodges Stadium. The stadium's track, completed in 2008, is one of only seven in the country certified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The baseball team plays at Harmon Stadium, while the softball team plays in the Softball Complex. The men's golf team utilizes the Hayt Golf Learning Center. The women's swimming and diving teams utilize the Aquatic Center. The men's and women's tennis teams play at the Tennis Complex.
The move to Division I represented a monumental step towards improving athletics for the future. Facilities upgrades have also been planned. On September 2, 2008, the University announced plans for UNF Varsity Village. The project will cost an estimated $30 million which will provide two new facilities and upgrades to existing facilities. The two new facilities will be a student wellness and sports education center, and a new baseball stadium with a seating capacity of 3,000. The existing stadium, Harmon Stadium will be renovated to include 1,200 seats and used for softball. Other improvements include upgrades to the Arena and Hodges Stadium.
North Florida's baseball program was founded in 1988. They play their home games at Dusty Rhodes Field at Harmon Stadium. The team was established under the leadership of Dusty Rhodes, who served as head coach from 1988 to 2010. Since its inception, the Ospreys baseball team has won thirteen conference titles: six in the NAIA, six in NCAA Division II, and one in NCAA Division I and has made a total of sixteen playoff appearances: six in the NAIA and ten in NCAA Division II. They went to the NAIA World Series in 1989 and 1991 and the NCAA Division II World Series in 2000, 2001, and 2005, advancing to the final in 2005.
Notably, the team's former logo is similar to the New York Yankees logo. It was designed in 1986 at the urging of Dusty Rhodes and continued, and brought extra attention to the baseball program. It was discontinued after Rhodes' retirement in 2010 and replaced with a new logo for the 2011 season.
The North Florida Ospreys men's basketball team began play in the 1992–93 season as members of the NAIA. Matthew Driscoll is the current and fourth overall head coach of the men's basketball team. He was hired in 2009, just before UNF's completion of their transition into Division I play.
In the 2010–11 season, they advanced to the Atlantic Sun Tournament championship game, where they were defeated by Belmont. The 2014–15 team won the program's first Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship and Atlantic Sun Tournament title, earning them their first ever bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
The program's all-time record through the 2014–15 season is 268–403.
The Ospreys women's basketball team is currently led by head coach Darrick Gibbs, who is in his first season in 2015–16. Mary Tappmeyer was the head coach from the program's inception in 1992 until 2015 when her contract was not renewed. North Florida made the NCAA Division II Tournament twice, in 2003 and 2004, and were the 2009–10 Atlantic Sun Conference runner-up. However, they began to struggle in the following years, posting two last-place finishes in the Atlantic Sun and a combined conference record of 4–28 over the 2013–14 and 2014–15 seasons.
The men's cross country team has earned 4 conference titles in Division II, 3 of which came while UNF was in the Sunshine State Conference (1994–1996), and the fourth came in 2000 during their time in the Peach Belt Conference.
The women's cross country team has earned 5 conferences title in Division II, 3 in the Sunshine State Conference (1994–1996), and two in the Peach Belt Conference (2001, 2003). They won their first A-Sun conference title in 2010.
The men's golf team earned UNF's first Division I conference title in 2008. They added conference titles in 2012, 2013, and 2015. They use UNF's on-campus Hayt Golf Learning Center, which has a three-hole course and driving range.
- NAIA National titles (2): 1991, 1993
- NCAA Division II Regional appearances (5): 1999–2002, 2008
- NCAA Division II Championship appearances (1): 2000
- NCAA Division I Championship appearances (2): 2012, 2013
Men's soccer won their first Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament title in 2015 by defeating USC Upstate 7–0 at Hodges Stadium. They earned their first bid to the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship (College Cup) with a record of 10–6–1.
NCAA Division II Tournament Appearances (7): 1999–2005
Women's volleyball at UNF began in 1991, and have an overall record of 401–178 (as of 2008). They play their home games at UNF Arena. They won eight Peach Belt Conference championships between 1997–2004. In the first year ever for UNF Women's Volleyball, the team progressed through the NAIA play offs and qualified for the NAIA National Championship.
Women's swimming and diving competes in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association.
Traditions and rivalries
"The Swoop" is a key UNF tradition, similar in principle to UF's Gator Chomp or FSU's Tomahawk Chop as the recognized gesture to show school spirit. It simulates the movement of an Osprey flying through the "swooping" of a fan's arms. "Swoop" is also an acronym that stands for Students With Outstanding Osprey Pride.
River City Rumble
North Florida's most notable rivalry is with crosstown opponents the Jacksonville University Dolphins. The two universities contest the "River City Rumble", in which the school with the most wins over the other across all sports receives a trophy, the SunTrust Old Wooden Barrel. The teams are awarded one point for each victory throughout the season. In individual sports, the team that finishes higher at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship earns one point. If the contest results in a tie, whichever team won the previous season retains the trophy.
|Years with barrel: UNF 6, JU 5|
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- [dead link]
- "2008 Cross Country Quick Facts" (PDF). Unfospreys.com. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
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- "UNF Athletics Adding Sand Volleyball as Varsity Sport".
- "2014 Sand Volleyball Roster". UNFOspreys.com. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
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- "SunTrust River City Rumble". UNFOspreys.com. University of North Florida. Retrieved July 16, 2014.