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Dunlaps donate $20M to FSU’s Unconquered Campaign

FSU received a major kick-start for its football-only facility and other projects.

Judy and Al Dunlap

Tallahassee, Fla. — Florida State had a major announcement before the Clemson game Saturday. Al and Judy Dunlap announced a $20M lead gift for the FSU Unconquered Campaign, which includes the football-only facility. I spoke with Al and Judy before the game and they are extremely excited.

Here are some quotes from FSU’s release.

“College football and college athletics in general is a competitive landscape,” said Al Dunlap. “I’m a competitive guy. My wife, Judy, and I identified immediately with this football operations facility concept when it was first presented to us back in late August. It’s not just about being competitive – it’s about staying competitive. That’s who we are. We want FSU’s student-athletes to have the very best and equip them with opportunities to achieve on the highest levels possible on and off the field. They make us proud with their effort and resolve.”

“Al and Judy have demonstrated time after time their willingness to invest in all students at FSU, not just student athletes,” said interim Athletics Director David Coburn. “Their commitment to the Dunlap Student Success Building is the most obvious example. Clearly, the Athletics Department and all of our student-athletes deeply appreciate this particularly generous gift, which comes on top of the many other gifts they have made to FSU and to Athletics.”

Dunlap later expounded on his and his wife’s motivation related to competition.

“Judy and I wanted to send a message loud and clear that this program will meet any challenge. Anyone doubting FSU Football’s commitment to be a top contender in all facets of the game has another thing coming.”

Dunlap said first-year Head Football Coach Willie Taggart’s recent action only further cemented in his and Judy’s minds that they had made the right decision.

“We had already inked the deal back on August 29 but we decided to keep it a secret so that we could give the Unconquered Campaign launch appropriate space and time to permeate,” Al said. “We had no idea that, only three days later, Coach Taggart and his wife, Taneshia, would step up with a million-dollar commitment like that. To me, that showed incredible leadership. That is evidenced by the fact some anonymous donor matched it the other day.”

Dunlap said he loved seeing the anonymous gift.

“I just told Coach that, actually,” he said of a recent visit with Taggart. “Judy and I visited with him a few days before the game and we got to tell him about our commitment in person. He knew we were in his corner and were going to help him, but I made him guess how much we would help. He started with a million. I shook my head and told him to go up higher. He kept guessing – his face looking more and more surprised and confused with each hike – until I finally told him we were doing $20 million. He responded by showing us the goosebumps on his forearms – multiple times, I should add.”

It was a special moment for Al and Judy and for Taggart too.

“I respect him a great deal and spending time with him reminds me of being with my old teammates,” said Al, who played high school football in New Jersey and then college ball at West Point. “He was put in a tough position when he took over. I know what that’s like – believe me. We are blessed to have him leading our young men and representing our University.”

With this most recent gift, Dunlap hopes to motivate others to do their part.

“Whether you can give $10 or $10 million, you must give. I promise you that FSU Athletics – all 20 varsity sports – are worth your investment,” Dunlap said. “Please support the Unconquered Campaign in whatever way you can.”

The timing of the gift could not have been better. FSU’s opponent, the Clemson Tigers, has one of the nicest football facilities in the nation. This helps to show that FSU is serious about keeping up with the Joneses, and could inspire gifts from others.