Gators Donor Gary Condron A Game Changer – Florida Gators

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 Practice Facility has stood off SW 2nd Avenue since 2015, providing the UF football team a place to escape the weather at practice. Condron’s contributions to Gator Boosters, the fundraising arm of the University Athletic Association, stretch 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. The 67-year-old Condron, CEO and founder of The Conlan Company, is the largest donor to the Gators athletic department in program history.

Condron has donated approximately $22.5 million to a wide range of projects over the years, including the Hawkins Academic Center, the renovation of Exactech Arena/O’Connell Center, Florida Ballpark and various other endeavors. He is a longtime season-ticket holder for football, basketball and baseball, and at one time, a walk-on with the Gators baseball team.

“Gary steps up and makes things happen, and he does it in a big way,” said former Gators football player Phil Pharr, Executive Director for Gator Boosters. “He is passionate about our program and he is a friend of the program. He is trying to do everything within his power to make this place better.”

Condron’s stint with the UF baseball team ended because of a torn rotator cuff. That didn’t stop him from making his mark with the Gators. He graduated with a degree in building construction and, a decade later, in 1987, founded The Conlan Company, a construction firm that specializes in light-industrial structures. The company has grown from one office in Atlanta to three across the country.

 

Gary Condron is CEO and founder of The Conlan Company. Condron’s passion for sports started when he was a kid growing up in Miami. Condron was usually outside sweating on a field or court in the South Florida sun in his free time.

“I grew up in a sports family,” he said. “My dad never had a chance to go to college, but he was a good athlete. My family just loved sports. From the day I can remember, I was always playing football, basketball and baseball. We were Dolphins season-ticket holders from the day they started.”

After graduating high school in 1972 – Condron is quick to point out that the Dolphins won the Super Bowl and had what remains the only perfect season in NFL history that year – he started college at USF. However, once he discovered the university didn’t have a construction school, he transferred to UF.

He began to root for the Gators, an interest that turned into a lifelong passion. He tried to help the program long before his business career flourished.

“I’ve always tried to do whatever I could since the day I graduated in 1977,” he said. “Probably in the early 2000s is when I felt like I was in a position financially to step up and lend larger support to the program.”

Over the past two decades, Condron’s support has increased as The Conlan Company’s profile grew in stature. As one of the country’s top manufacturers of light-industrial complexes, Condron’s firm is one of the leading builders of Amazon distribution centers around the country.

With the explosion of e-commerce during the 2010s, Condron is grateful for his success and his ability to contribute more to philanthropic efforts.

“The success of our company is because of our people,” Condron said. “That’s what we have in the construction business. It’s no different than sports and teams.”

Pharr considers Condron a friend, first, and one of the best teammates the Gators have ever had. Pharr recalls years ago when Condron lived in Atlanta and developed his company. If the Gators had a mid-day game, Condron would drive to the game and then leave afterward for the trip back to Atlanta.

The Condron family moved from Atlanta to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2007, shortening their drive as son Ryan and daughter Shelby attended UF.

Gary Condron served as a head coach at the Orange & Blue Game in 2018. “He just wants to help us,” Pharr said. “He always says, ‘if people see what I’m doing and that motivates them to do what they can do relative to their own personal situation, he wants to help.’ He’s our top dog.”

Condron’s sports background helps in his understanding of how a big-time college athletic program works. The 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 internet message boards assume. Condron has built relationships with dozens of UAA officials over the years, including former athletic director Jeremy Foley and current AD Scott Stricklin.

“These people swear that boosters insist on changes and run the program and we absolutely don’t,” he said. “We didn’t when Jeremy was there, and we don’t with Scott there.”

More than 40 years and millions of dollars in donations later, Condron may be the most significant financial donor in Gators history, but he’s still mostly a fan at heart.

That is how it all started.

“It’s in my blood. I’ve just always been fanatical about sports,” he said. “I run my business like a team. I’ve learned more – or certainly as much – about running my business from my sports background than I did from my academic background.”