GAINESVILLE, Fla – Gary Condron is a name that has become familiar to many Gators fans over the past decade.
For those who regularly visit the University of Florida campus, the Gary Condron indoor training facility has stood off 2nd Avenue SW since 2015, providing the UF football team with a place to escape. to inclement weather during training. Condron’s contributions to Gator Boosters, the fundraising arm of the University Athletic Association, extend far beyond the facility that bears his name.
Since the Gators embarked on the most ambitious facilities master plan in school history in 2015, Condron has signed some of the most significant contributions. Condron, 67, CEO and founder of The Conlan Company, is the largest donor to the Gators’ sports department in the history of the program.
Condron has donated approximately $ 22.5 million to a wide range of projects over the years, including the Hawkins Academic Center, the refurbishment of the Exactech Arena / O’Connell Center, the Florida Ballpark, and various other initiatives. . He is a long-time football, basketball and baseball member and at one point was a member of the Gators baseball team.
“Gary is stepping up and making a difference, and he’s doing it in a big way,” said the former Gators football player. Phil Pharr, executive director of Gator Boosters. âHe’s passionate about our program and he’s a friend of the program. He tries to do everything in his power to improve this place.
Condron’s stint with the UF baseball team ended with a torn rotator cuff. That didn’t stop him from making his mark with the Gators. He graduated in building construction and a decade later, in 1987, founded The Conlan Company, a construction company specializing in light industrial structures. The company has grown from one office in Atlanta to three across the country.
Condron’s passion for sports began when he was a child growing up in Miami. Condron was usually outside sweating in a field or court in sunny South Florida in his spare time.
âI grew up in a family of athletes,â he said. âMy dad never had the chance to go to college, but he was a good athlete. My family loved sports. From the day I can remember, I have always played football, basketball. -ball and baseball. We had a subscription to the Dolphins from the day they started. “
After graduating from high school in 1972 – Condron is quick to point out that the Dolphins won the Super Bowl and enjoyed what remains the only perfect season in NFL history that year – he has started college at USF. However, once he found out that the university did not have a construction school, he was transferred to UF.
He began to take root for the Gators, an interest that turned into a passion for life. He tried to help the program long before his business career blossomed.
âI have always tried to do whatever I can since the day I graduated in 1977,â he said. program.”
Over the past two decades, Condron’s support has grown as The Conlan Company’s profile has grown. As one of the country’s leading manufacturers of light industrial complexes, Condron’s company is one of the leading builders of Amazon fulfillment centers across the country.
With the explosion of e-commerce in the 2010s, Condron is grateful for its success and its ability to further contribute to philanthropic efforts.
âThe success of our business is due to our people,â said Condron. “That’s what we have in the construction industry. It’s no different from sports and teams.”
Pharr considers Condron a friend, first, and one of the best teammates the Gators have ever had. Pharr remembers years ago when Condron was living in Atlanta and growing his business. If the Gators had a midday game, Condron would make it to the game and then leave for the trip back to Atlanta.
The Condron family moved from Atlanta to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2007, shortening their commute as son Ryan and daughter Shelby frequented UF.
âHe just wants to help us,â Pharr said. âHe always says, ‘If people see what I’m doing and it motivates them to do what they can do about their personal situation, he wants to help.’ He’s our best dog. “
Condron’s athletic background helps him understand how a large college athletic program works. Coaches and players are the stars, but much of the heavy lifting is done behind the scenes.
He respects the way the Gators operate despite what those on the bulletin boards assume. Condron has built relationships with dozens of UAA officials over the years, including the former athletic director Jeremy Foley and current AD Scott stricklin.
âThese people swear the boosters are pushing the changes and running the program and we absolutely don’t do it,â he said. “We didn’t do it when Jeremy was there, and we didn’t do it with Scott there.”
Over 40 years and millions of dollars in donations later, Condron may be the biggest financial donor in Gators history, but he’s still mostly a fan at heart.
This is how it all started.
“It’s in my blood. I’ve always been a sports fanatic,” he said. “I run my business as a team. I have learned more – or certainly as much – about running my business through my athletic experience than through my university education.”