Hughes Retires after 16 Years at Sports Commission

Jack Hughes, the longtime face of sporting events that bring millions of dollars into the community, has retired.

Hughes led the Gainesville Sports Commission (GSC), formerly known as the Gainesville Sports Organizing Committee, for 16 years.

GSC is involved in more than 35 events that bring more than 40,000 visitors to the county each year, Hughes says. Alachua County’s tourist development tax is a major funding source for the events.

The organization operates some events, including the Gainesville Senior Games and the Jimmy Carnes Indoor Track and Field Meet.

Other organizations serve as the primary sponsor of the other events, with GSC assisting and awarding reimbursement of expenses. These events include the Five Points of Life Marathon and Race Weekend and the Florida’s Sunshine State Games.

The budget of CSC is $400,000 annually. “We generate additional value through in-kind contributions and the work of volunteer,” Hughes says.

The organization estimates that its activities have $16 million to $20 million in direct economic activity.

Hughes also has been an advocate for increased funding for recreation. He was a leader of the Wild Spaces-Public Places organization, which helped gain voter approval in 2008 of a half-cent sales tax that ran for two years. The sales tax generated $32 million for parks and the purchase of conservation land.

“Under Jack’s leadership, the Gainesville Sports Commission has been instrumental in making sports tourism the number one purpose of travel into Alachua County,” says Roland Loog, Director of the Alachua County Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Joleen Cacciatore, the organizations associate executive director, is serving as the interim executive director.


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