GAINESVILLE -- Phil Pharr, a veteran of over 30 years of service with Gator Boosters, Inc., has been named the organization’s Executive Director, the Gator Boosters Board of Directors announced Monday.
Pharr has served as Associate Executive Director of Major Gifts since 1993, and on the Gators Boosters staff since 1981. He replaces John James, who retired as Executive Director in June.
Additionally, Doug Brown, previously Associate Executive Director for Annual Giving, has been elevated to Deputy Executive Director for Gator Boosters.
“We had a large number of applications and interest in the job, but it was very apparent that we had the best person for the job already in the organization,” said John Frost, chair of the search committee. “Phil has been the driving force behind many major gifts over the years and this University and Athletic Association are his passion and his love. No one can match his institutional knowledge and the people skills that are so needed in this position. He is the right person for the job and we are very excited to continue to grow under his leadership.”
Pharr has helped increase major gift development for Gator Boosters, Inc., and has played a role in securing over $60 million in contributions for major gifts and capital improvements.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve as Executive Director for Gator Boosters,” said Pharr. “As an alum, and someone who has shared the vision of this organization for over 30 years, this a tremendous honor, and I’m grateful to the Gator Boosters Board of Directors and the search committee. We have an opportunity to help student-athletes with the gift of an education, provide a foundation for their future, and enhance that experience with visible progress to facilities. It’s an exciting time be a part of the University of Florida and I’m inspired by how much more we still have to accomplish. I look forward to working with Doug and a very talented existing staff and taking things to an even higher level.”
Pharr, 54, came to Gator Boosters in August of 1981 as Field Secretary, a role he held until 1986, where he developed the Lettermen’s Association (currently the F Club), the Hall of Fame nominations process and banquet and helped coordinate the University Athletic Association’s involvement in Gator Clubs throughout the Southeast.
In 1986 Pharr was elevated to Assistant Director of Major Gifts in which he coordinated endowment fundraising efforts and cultivated major gift donor prospects. In 1993 he was promoted to Associate Executive Director of Major Gifts where he has directed all aspects of identifying prospective donors, major gifts programs for athletics, and cultivation and stewardship of existing and potential future donors for Gator Boosters. He has worked directly with the UAA on private funding for capital improvement projects, including recent and on-going projects such as the Westside Concourse renovation, the upcoming Charles R. and Nancy V. Perry Indoor Tennis Facility and the renovation of the gymnastics facility at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. In addition. Pharr has previously led private funding for such successful projects as the Florida Basketball Practice Facility and the $28 million James. W. “Bill” Heavener Football Complex.
“Phil has given over 30 to years to this institution, he’s passionate about the University of Florida and the Gators, and I commend the search committee and the Gator Boosters Board of Directors on their selection,” said athletics director Jeremy Foley. “Phil has a talented staff in place and I know he’ll take Gator Boosters to new heights.”
Pharr graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Public Relations and was a three-year letter-winner for the University of Florida football program from 1978-80.
Brown assumes the role of Deputy Executive Director after serving on the Gators Boosters staff since 1992. Brown served as Assistant Director for Gator Boosters from 1992-94 before being elevated to Director of the Bull Gator Program. He held that title until 2007 when he elevated to the role of Associate Executive Director for Annual Giving. Since assuming that role annual giving contributions at the University of Florida have averaged $34,500,000 annually, the highest average among Southeastern Conference institutions.
Brown came to Gator Boosters after working in marketing and promotions at the University of New Hampshire from 1988-02. He has a degree in Public Administration from Juniata College (Pa.) and a Masters in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University (Fla.).