Building Dunk City: The Rise of the Eagles
TALLAHASSEE — Step aside, lawmakers: Dunk City is in the House.
The Florida Gulf Coast University's men's basketball team was honored on the floors of the Florida House of Representatives and Senate on Wednesday.
Lawmakers from Southwest Florida took a minute in both chambers to recognize the team for a successful March Madness run.
“We're so proud of your accomplishments, Dunk City,” said Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers.
FGCU, which was the first No. 15 seed to make it to the Sweet 16, earned its Dunk City moniker because of its high-flying men's basketball team.
Wilson Bradshaw, the school's president; Ken Kavanagh, the school's athletic director; Robbie Roepstorff, chairwoman of the board of trustees; and players Eddie Murray and Chase Fieler were in Tallahassee to accept the honors. Bradshaw said while he's been to Tallahassee many times in the past, this trip was different because lawmakers and staffers didn't want to chat with him.
“This time around it's the players and the coaches people want to meet and see,” he said. “It's been crazy, in an exciting way.”
Murray, 23, and Fieler, 20, said the past few weeks have been a great experience and they were happy to have a chance to meet lawmakers. Murray said it was nice to see FGCU getting recognized for its accomplishments.
This was both Murray and Fieler's first time at the statehouse.
The team presented Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, with a basketball signed by all of the players.
“Nobody in America has ever done what you did,” said Weatherford. “We're proud of you.”
Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, offered similar praise earlier in the day.
“You made Florida proud,” Richter said. “It's good to have you here.”
Bradshaw said the group was also scheduled to meet with Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday. The team planned to give the Naples Republican an autographed ball.