Utah Valley University is building a $20 million soccer stadium on campus. Most of the world outside of the United States would call it a futbol facility. Football in Utah County has long been considered a BYU sport, but business visionary Brandon Fugal believes a gridiron is still in UVU’s long-term plans.

“I think the vision has always been to have a football team,” the major donor and former UVU Foundation board member told the “Y’s Guys” podcast. “(Former) President Matt Holland would always get a twinkle in his eye whenever football came up. I think it’s always … it’s a dream. It’s an aspiration. Everybody tips their hat to BYU and the football program. You look at how much it has evolved, even most recently (with the Big 12). We are really looking forward to this year.”

Fugal served on the UVU board for a decade and the real estate mogul negotiated the acquisition of UVU’s 238-acre property in Vineyard for intramural fields and future expansion projects. The school has the space and a growing enrollment (44,000) where a Weber State-sized (FCS) football program could create a viable discussion.

Dreams come true

The idea of a second college football program in Utah County might feel like a risky stretch, but is it any more improbable than Salt Lake City becoming home to the NBA, NHL, MLS and potentially MLB? Just ask Jazz owner Ryan Smith. His sports dream is coming to fruition. UVU’s hopes for football might one day follow suit.

For dreamers and doers like Fugal — chairman of Colliers International, the largest commercial real estate firm in the Intermountain West, and owner of the mysterious Skinwalker Ranch — nothing is impossible. If the Wolverines ever kick off a football program, the Pleasant Grove native, UVU grad and BYU fan will split his allegiance between Orem and Provo, like so many are already doing.

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“We have such a vibrant community here. BYU has a global mission that they are filling that a university like UVU can’t,” he said. “But they are feeder schools. People do a couple of years at UVU and move over to BYU and some transition the other way.”

Memory maker

Fugal grew up watching BYU football with his dad (Daniel) and three younger brothers (Cameron, Patrick, Matthew) at LaVell Edwards Stadium. It’s where they cheered, shared popcorn and dreamed together. They saw future Super Bowl quarterbacks, a Heisman Trophy winner and it’s where they celebrated a national championship.

“It was my father’s religion. He bled Cougar blue. He loved BYU and everything it stood for. The athletics program was his biggest passion,” Fugal said. “I think he had the most coveted seats in the stadium near the 50-yard line above the east portal. He passed away a few years ago, but we have continued the tradition with our mother (Jill).”

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Daniel Fugal died on Sept. 8, 2021, just two days before his beloved Cougars would be formally invited to join the Big 12 and three days prior to BYU’s 26-17 victory over Utah, where he began his college education before finishing his degree in Provo.

“We went to a game before he died. I can’t remember who it was against, and I can’t even remember who won. It didn’t even matter,” Fugal said. “All that mattered is we were together as father and sons. It was the most manly gathering of a father-son activity and to rally around BYU.”

Utah Valley University in Orem is pictured on Wednesday Feb 9, 2022. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is a play-by-play announcer and show host for BYUtv/ESPN+. He co-hosts “Y’s Guys” at ysguys.com and is the author of the children’s book “C is for Cougar,” available at deseretbook.com.