BOCA RATON, Fla. - When it was announced Dec. 6 that Temple would play Toledo in the Boca Raton Bowl, Craig Angelos felt an extra sense of pride.
That's because the venue for the game, Florida Atlantic Stadium, was one that Angelos, Temple's deputy athletic director, played a major role in creating.
Angelos was the director of athletics at Florida Atlantic University from 2003 to 2012. While former FAU football coach Howard Schnellenberger was the public face of the stadium effort, it was Angelos who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. (The playing surface is named Howard Schnellenberger Field, but no naming rights have been sold for the stadium.)
And now Angelos' current team is playing in his old stadium. In another connection, Florida Atlantic is also nicknamed the Owls.
"This is good fortune on my part that we are playing here," Angelos said. ". . . I knew this was possible that we could play here, and I am very excited."
FAU's stadium is on campus. Temple is looking into building a $100 million campus stadium.
Angelos declined to talk about the Temple stadium situation.
"I am not in a place to discuss it and haven't been involved in it since its infancy," he said.
One thing that is abundantly clear is that the two situations are drastically different.
The biggest difference is that there was plenty of available land to build Florida Atlantic Stadium, which cost $70 million. That isn't the case at Temple, where the stadium, if built, would rise about a block or two behind the Liacouras Center.
At FAU, there was enough land near the stadium that the school was able to sell some to a developer for $12 million, part of the fund-raising effort. Among the buildings near the stadium are dorms, a parking garage, a Subway sandwich shop, and an FAU team store.
FAU's 30,000-seat facility opened in 2011. Angelos said that the original goal was to build a 40,000- to 45,000-seat domed stadium, but plans were scaled back.
There are palm trees around FAU Stadium, and it was constructed with a beach-like theme.
Not everything went smoothly. The stadium was supposed to open in 2010, but fund-raising efforts fell short, and the opening was delayed until Oct. 15, 2011, when FAU lost to Western Kentucky, 20-0.
"It was at the height of the great recession, so it was a really terrible time to raise money, but it was a great time to build because labor costs were low, and we felt we got it built at a good bargain," Angelos said.
Angelos will be reminded of all the work it took to build the stadium while attending the second annual Boca Raton Bowl.