ATLANTA — The moment Florida coach Dan Mullen and the UF fanbase had been waiting more than eight months for arrived Tuesday night at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Fresh off of his 10th consecutive SEC Media Days appearance and his first as Florida’s head coach, Mullen took the GWCC stage to address a crowd of approximately 150 people and debut Florida’s heavily-promoted uniform partnership with Jordan Brand.
“We’re so excited to be partners with Jordan,” Mullen said. “It’s a special day for us to join with the Jordan Brand, because it’s about excellence. And it’s a new day, to me it’s a new day.”
And Florida, just the fourth collegiate football program to partner with Jordan Brand and the first Southeastern Conference member to transition from the Nike logo to Jumpman, plans to bring the Jumpman logo to the men’s and women’s basketball programs for the 2018-19 season.
Jordan Brand’s expansion into college football has been quick and influential, with the University of Michigan becoming the first team to don the outfit in the 2016 season. The original Jumpman himself, NBA legend Michael Jordan, soon brought the brand to the University of North Carolina, his alma mater. In addition to the Gators, the University of Oklahoma football program will unveil Jumpman-adorned uniforms this season.
“Everyone talked to me today and asked, ‘What’s your biggest game of the year,’ ” Mullen said, “and the biggest game for me is going to be Charleston Southern, because it’s the day I get to stand in the tunnel and run out of the tunnel for the first time as head coach of the Gators.”
While Tuesday marked the official unveiling of Florida’s latest brand, Mullen and the Gators quickly integrated the Jumpman logo on the recruiting trail, and the 46-year-old head coach arrived in Atlanta in customized orange-and-blue Air Jordan 4 shoes.
“Recruits are always asking about swag and what kind of gear we have,” Mullen told CBS Sports’ Chip Patterson in December following the partnership’s announcement. “Obviously, it is a great marketing and branding advantage to be associated with the Jordan Brand — and at the same time, the gear is comfortable and functional for our players.”
The reception from the team has seemingly more than justified Florida’s transition to the brand, too.
“I was extremely happy, because it’s Jordan. And especially when I found out we were going to be one of the few schools to represent the Jordan Brand,” UF senior defensive lineman Cece Jefferson said Tuesday. “Growing up, I didn’t always have a pair of Jordan’s, you know? And look at me now, I’m sponsored by them, the University of Florida is sponsored by Jordan. So I’m excited, this team is excited, and we’re just ready to put it on in The Swamp and see if we can jump like him.”
Florida’s Jumpman gear hit retail shelves July 1 and can be purchased from shop.floridagators.com and Fanatics.com.