The Florida State Seminoles received a huge donation this afternoon that should have a positive impact before tomorrow's National Signing Day. Al "Chainsaw" Dunlap, Ocala business man and former CEO of Sunbeam, donated $5 million to the FSU sports program to build an indoor practice facility, expected to be utilized by the football team and to be available in January of 2013.
Since becoming head coach of the Seminoles, head coach Jimbo Fisher has lobbied the university for an indoor practice facility to protect players from the elements. The expected site of the development is the current Al Dunlap Practice Field next to Doak Campbell Stadium, which was financed by a $5 million donation in 2007.
Via the Orlando Sentinel, Charlie Barnes, executive director and senior vice president of Seminole Boosters Inc. said Tuesday afternoon that the donation came through in the last month.
"I don't remember the exact day, but I remember I was very happy," said Barnes.
Current estimates for the cost of the facility hover around $15 million. The remaining $10 million is being raised through fundraising efforts headed by Seminole Boosters. Those efforts include an online donation drive that has been going on since September at fsuindoorpracticefacility.com.
Al Dunlap is a former financier of non-sports programs at Florida State as well, erecting a career center complex in the heart of campus that bears his name. The university has come under fire for accepting his donations in the past due to Dunlap's history of fraud. Regardless, this strong sign of commitment to player protection and development is a positive sign for potential signees that have a big decision to make tomorrow.