NAIA Football Finds Championship Home in Daytona Beach
By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that the 2014, 2015 and 2016 NAIA Football National Championship will be hosted by the City of Daytona Beach in Daytona Beach, Fla. The first of the three title contests will be played on December 20, 2014, with the 2015 game taking place on Dec. 19 and 2016 scheduled for Dec. 17.
“We are extremely excited to have our Football National Championship make its way to Florida,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “We are confident that the City of Daytona Beach will continue to move the needle forward for this tremendous event and provide an outstanding experience for out student-athletes, coaches and fans. I also would like to thank Rome/Floyd County for all the work they’ve done the past six years.”
The state of Florida previously held the football national championship from 1957 – 1960 in St. Petersburg. Since 1960, the championship has been held in 19 different states, including the past five years in Georgia. The 2013 season will mark the sixth and final year the game will be played at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga.“We are pleased to partner with the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to attract this marquee event to Daytona Beach beginning in 2014 for three consecutive years,” said Mayor Derrick Henry, City of Daytona Beach. “We have an excellent football venue and I’m excited to showcase our community to NAIA’s athletes, their families and fans. The Annual Football National Championship will provide a positive economic boost for our community during one of our shoulder seasons. I look forward to following NAIA’s 2014 season and watching the excitement build about traveling to Daytona Beach.”
Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium, also known as Larry Kelly Field, was built in 1988 and has seen a variety of sporting events during its lifetime. With the addition of field turf – part of a $900,000 renovation project funded by the Volusia County ECHO grant program, the Daytona Beach Racing and Recreation Commission and the City of Daytona Beach – in 2010, Municipal Stadium primary use is for football and soccer. The complex is the home field of NCAA Division I Bethune-Cookman (Fla.), while also serving several local high schools.
Municipal Stadium also served as home field for the Florida Football Alliance Bowl in 2008, 2009 and 2011. The Florida Football Alliance is a non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of minor-league football in the state.
The Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (DBACVB) is a not-for-profit organization, charged is the advertising and promotion of the local area as a destination for tourism and events alike. The DBACVB maintains a staff of approximately 15 full-time individuals, including a team of five professionals dedicated to bringing meetings, trade shows and sporting events to the area.
Founded in 1870, Daytona Beach officially became a city in 1876. Daytona Beach that is known today comes from the 1926 merger of three cities – Daytona, Daytona Beach and Seabreeze. The local metro area houses approximately 500,000 residents and welcomes nearly eight million visitors each year. In the world of sports, Daytona Beach is arguably best known for hosting some of the world’s largest motorsports events, including the annual Daytona 500.
The NAIA has sponsored football since 1956, when its inaugural championship was held in Little Rock, Ark. Marian (Ind.) won the 2012 National Championship with a 30-27 overtime victory over Morningside (Iowa) at Barron Stadium in Rome, Ga. Currently, 85 institutions sponsor the sport of football. For a complete list of participating schools, click here.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
To learn more about NAIA Football, click here.
To learn more about the City of Daytona Beach, click here.
For information on the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.