When the remodeled Stephen C. O’Connell Center reopens near the start of 2017, a new name will don the building, and no, at this time it’s not the one of the history-making Florida Gators basketball coach.
Florida announced Thursday that the O’Dome will be rennamed the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center following its $65 million renovation.
Obviously, this sponsorship is not coming out of the goodness of Florida’s heart. According to the athletic program, Exactech will pay $5.9 million over 10 years for the arena’s naming rights with a $3.5 million option to extend the deal attached to the end of the contract.
Exactech “develops, manufactures, markets and sells orthopedic impact devices and related surgical instrumentation,” according to its website.
The deal was approved by O’Connell Center trustee Cindy O’Connell, whose departed husband — a former Florida president — had the facility named after him.
“Change is part of life. Change is something the University of Florida is about and something my late husband clearly supported,” she said in the release. “The Stephen C. O’Connell Center is still a building for all reasons; its integrity and purpose still very much intact. It is a gathering point for students, alumni, faculty and friends as well as a place for great athletic triumphs for the Gators. The community, the state, the alumni, donors, the students and faculty should be thrilled at the expansion and supportive of the naming.”
What was not included in the release on the renaming of the O’Dome is whether the court will receive a name for the first time in program history. Even before he left the team, former Gators coach Billy Donovan was the subject of a strong push to have the floor named after him.