‘Sprint’ campaign off and running

For years, observers of Hurricane athletics have said that their finances, or lack thereof, have prevented Miami from maintaining pace with other universities. Now to catch up, the ‘Canes are entering a sprint.

The “Sprint for Hurricane Athletics: A Campaign for the Miami Hurricanes” seeks to raise more than $70 million for three aspects of the school’s athletic fund during the next three years.

The campaign is aptly named, as the university is attempting to raise the first $20 million in six months.

Football head coach Randy Shannon said that Miami’s athletic department does not get state grants, which are funded by taxes paid by all Floridians.

“I’m helping Florida and Florida State out and, when you’re a private institution, you’ve got to raise money for your campus and your institution,” Shannon said.

Sprint has been tied in to “Momentum,” the university’s $1.25 billion fundraising campaign. The goal is for Sprint to match Momentum’s success, although it will extend beyond Momentum’s 2007 end date.

“The university has reached an unbelievable milestone by reaching and exceeding their fundraising goals,” said Lindsey Radeer, associate athletic director for development.

“Athletics are such an integral part of the university’s image and success, it’s a natural partnership.”

Sprint is actively targeting alumni for donations, specifically former athletes.

“We’re really looking to our former athletes, who have been very generous in the past, and who have reaped the benefits of being a ‘Cane,” Radeer said.

Men’s basketball head coach Frank Haith and his program also stand to benefit from the additions, such as a new practice facility that is aimed to help attract recruits.

“It’s just the trend now, everybody has one [practice facility] and we don’t have [the BankUnited Center] all the time,” Haith said. “Having a facility for just men’s and women’s basketball and to be able to go into and workout when you want, I think it just helps you build your program the way you want to build it.”

Another aspect of Hurricane athletics targeted by Sprint is the annual fund, which provides scholarships to student athletes and allots miscellaneous funding for athletic pursuits.

The endowment is a lesser-known aspect of athletic funding, but provides the biggest long-term impact due to its long-term focus. The endowment provides funding and can also provide annual scholarships.

“Our endowment is really our funding to our future,” said Radeer. “There’s really no limit to the total endowment amount we’d like to have.

“We wanted to really look at the future of Hurricane athletics and what we needed as a program,” she continued. “And that’s facilities, the annual fund, and our endowment. We want to bring the university to the forefront of intercollegiate athletics.”

Matthew Bunch may be contacted at m.bunch@umiami.edu.