May 30, 2017
Federation Men Enjoy a Night Out with New FAU Head Football Coach Lane Kiffin
Men of all ages who care about the community, sports and the best times together headed to the Florida Atlantic University’s Delray Acura Club at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on May 16 for a unique opportunity to hear from Lane Kiffin, FAU’s new head football coach. With a panoramic view overlooking the field where the Owls play, they also enjoyed dinner, an open bar and premium networking at this Men’s Night Out presented by the Men’s Division of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.
Men’s Division Co-Chairs Ira Holz and Ken Lebersfeld greeted “many old friends and new faces” from the podium. “Whether it’s meeting a sports legend, getting briefed by a Middle East specialist, or enjoying a Scotch and Cigar Night with your peers, our Men’s Division offers programs for men of all ages, interests and levels of giving,” said Holz. “At the heart of it all we are building a stronger, brighter Jewish community together and improving lives locally, in Israel and around the world.”
FAU President Dr. John Kelly welcomed the enthusiastic crowd to the stadium. Sharing an array of recent FAU accomplishments, he lauded the FAU/Federation partnership, and acknowledged two very special friends and philanthropists to both FAU and the Federation: Harvey Sandler and Gary Rubin, for their support, particularly the gift that recently named the Phyllis & Harvey Sandler School of Social Work. Kelly called out the vital work of the Federation and its beneficiary agencies in the community, including Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach for its wealth of programming and support for Jewish students on the campus.
Kelly, as well as every other speaker, encouraged the men to invest in the community and in great sports experiences by becoming FAU Owls season ticket holders – and many signed right up that evening.
Mel Lowell took the mic as Federation COO and, with 30 years of prior experience in professional sports management “as someone who knows, from the inside, the enormous value of a beloved sports team to a community.”
Lowell stressed “How important our Federation’s growing partnership with FAU is – for our Federation and our beneficiary agencies, for the university and for our entire community,” citing an array of existing and emerging examples. “Federation believes deeply that we must take an active role in building this community’s premier educational institution, and work on building this community together. As two of the largest community-minded institutions here, together we can and we will reach key accomplishments.”
Bryan Drowos then spoke as a “great fan of both the Federation and FAU.” Drowos, whose wife also serves on the FAU College of Medicine faculty, is a Federation board member and Jewish Federations of North America National Young Leadership Co-Chair as well as an FAU MBA graduate and supporter of athletics. He described the broad and deep impact of Federation’s work in the community, in Israel and around the world and thanked everyone for their support.
Pat Chun, FAU Vice President and Director of Athletics, proudly introduced Coach Kiffin as the result of a search for the best coach possible, and of a caliber not seen before at FAU. Chun stressed Kiffin’s track record, winning mentality and strategic abilities, noting that Kiffin holds a 35-21 all-time record as a collegiate head coach. Kiffin ushered the storied USC football team to a 10-2 record and No. 6 AP poll finish, despite NCAA sanctions; was a member of the Alabama coaching staff that captured three consecutive SEC Championships and a National Title; and has coached multiple All-Americans as well as a handful of Heisman Trophy winners. Lane Kiffin is the son of legendary football coach Monte Kiffin, who was in attendance at the Men’s Night and has joined the FAU Owls as a defensive analyst.
Ken Lavicka, ESPN Voice of the FAU Owls, called Lane Kiffin “about as big time as it gets in college football,” as he headed into their Q/A format onstage. Kiffin shared details and insights of his career decisions (especially his recent one that brought him to FAU) and experiences; his current efforts and plans to build the Owls team; and his great confidence in the team and support of the school and community. He closed with a shout out for the Federation and all its supporters in the audience do every day to make a difference for so many.
“We are very proud of our partnership with the Jewish Federation and enjoyed hosting Men’s Night Out at our beautiful on-campus stadium,” said Kelly. “We look forward to an exciting football season under Coach Kiffin and hope to see our friends in the Jewish community rooting for the Owls this fall.”
Men who contributed a gift of $1,800+ to the Federation’s 2017 Annual Campaign, or committed to step up from $1,200 in 2017 to $1800 in 2018 enjoyed a pre-event VIP Reception in the President’s Suite at the stadium.
The Men’s Division is generously sponsored by the Sandelman Foundation. Men’s Night Out was sponsored by BB&T and The Corcoran Group. FAU and Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits were the evening’s In-Kind Sponsors, and The Boca Raton Observer was Exclusive Magazine Sponsor.