Automotive Business Innovator Hugh Hathcock Delivers Document-Setting Present To Gators

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Hugh Hathcock’s life story intertwines with the College of Florida like Hogtown Creek weaves its method by means of city.

There are begins and stops, straightaways and bends alongside the trail. However Hathcock, who spent his elementary faculty years right here, by no means actually left. His coronary heart all the time remained close by due to the Gators. It did not matter that he made his house and constructed a massively profitable enterprise in Valdosta, Ga., the place most locals mortgage their loyalty to a different Southeastern Convention powerhouse.

Hugh’s father, the late Douglas Hathcock, handed his ardour for the Gators right down to his son. Hugh did the identical when his boys got here alongside, scheduling household journeys to Sugar Bowls and Ultimate Fours with sons Brandon and Gage, and nephew Seth Rountree, whom Hugh stated is “like my son.”

All these Orange & Blue recollections through the years hint again to Hugh’s early life.

“My earliest Gator recollections are my dad taking me to observe Spurrier play once I’m like 5 years previous,” Hathcock stated. “With out him, I’d by no means have been a Gator fan.”

Hathcock’s father labored for Western Electrical in these days, and the household ultimately moved to Valdosta, the place Hathcock went to highschool. When the time arrived for school, Hathcock discovered his method again to UF — however not for lengthy.

He attended for a semester. His curiosity in Gators sports activities nonetheless burned deep, however there was an enormous world outdoors metropolis limits, and Hathcock dreamed of constructing his mark as a businessman.

“At that time, I did not really feel like every college was going to show me methods to be an entrepreneur,” Hathcock stated. “My household was very center class. My dad and mom labored their ass off, however that they had no cash. I grew up with no cash, so individuals who develop up with no cash need to earn money.”

Earlier than a dive into the main points, know that Hathcock made sufficient cash to not too long ago pledge a $12.6 million contribution to Gator Boosters, the biggest single monetary reward from a donor within the group’s historical past. To acknowledge and honor this game-changing reward, in early December the UF Board of Trustees permitted the naming of the Hugh Hathcock Suite Tower at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and the Hugh Hathcock Basketball Advanced on the UF Basketball Apply Facility. Parts of the reward shall be earmarked for renovations to the basketball apply facility, whereas the stability will help the UAA Amenities Grasp Plan. Gator Boosters has obtained commitments of $148.8 million in personal help towards the grasp plan.


“Hugh’s abilities and success in enterprise are matched solely by his ardour for the Gators,” UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin stated. “He thinks large, so it is solely becoming that that is the biggest single reward Gators Boosters has ever obtained. We’re so appreciative of the help Hugh supplies, and grateful for his generosity.”

Hathcock’s loyalty to the Gators goes nicely past his most-recent reward.

“This record-setting reward is one other instance of Hugh’s unwavering dedication and help,” stated Phil Pharr, Gator Boosters Government Director.

As his 5 children grew up, the UF soccer and males’s basketball groups served as fixed companions. Two of his daughters attended UF, together with one set to graduate in late April.


The Hathcock household made journeys typically to the UF campus for sporting occasions. They traveled to bowl video games shut and much. They celebrated nationwide championships and bought to know coaches and gamers.

Doug Brown, Deputy Government Director of Gator Boosters, has identified Hathcock since he was beginning out and has watched Hathcock’s enterprise profession blossom. Regardless of his station in life, Hathcock all the time saved excited about what was occurring with the Gators.

“Hugh is a Gator to his core,” Brown stated. “For many years he has supported us in so some ways. He is a good Gator and we want a complete lot extra similar to him.”

The Gators turned a part of the Hathcock household.

“Even once I was in my 20s, simply beginning to earn money, I used to be nonetheless a season-ticket holder,” Hathcock stated. “Once they did the Landing Terrace, I used to be one of many first ones to [contribute]. You aren’t capable of actually do the belongings you need to do till you hit it large. They knew me again when my corporations have been simply small corporations.”

Hathcock’s enterprise profession is the actual story right here. Within the mid-Eighties, he began an organization known as Recent Beginnings to assist automobile sellers across the nation join in a extra private method with prospects. He got here up with a easy but sensible concept.

“It was cookies that we put in 2.5-pound designer canister bins, and we had a card program that I put the sellers’ identify on it,” Hathcock stated. “It was a thank-you card. We went to automobile sellers all throughout the USA telling them once they bought a automobile, we’d ship this will of cookies with this card system.”

Hathcock began small. His father and different members of the family even helped bake the cookies. The concept was an enormous hit and developed into an organization known as eLead, which created and built-in CRM (buyer relationship administration) expertise to develop a database for buyer referrals, service visits, and varied duties related to the automotive {industry}.

Recent Beginnings grew to enroll greater than 3,000 dealerships to make use of the service in its first 5 years. It opened a name heart in Valdosta that turned the biggest within the nation within the auto {industry}. As soon as Hathcock pivoted to the extra technological eLeadCRM, the enterprise serviced greater than 5,000 dealerships throughout the U.S.

“I used to be making telephone requires all the things from service visits to purchasing a automobile to fairness calls,” Hathcock stated. “Then, in 2000, I developed the primary CRM. That is actually what I did to make the cash to present this reward. Within the automobile {industry} within the late ’90s, there was no CRM. I purchased an organization in Destin, and I constructed this software program firm and developed an automotive CRM, and I used to be the primary to market with it.”

ELeadCRM grew into an {industry} big for the subsequent twenty years till Hathcock bought the corporate in 2019 to CDK International for $550 million.

However Hathcock’s story would not finish there. As a substitute of retiring to a recliner, Hathcock is motivated by a ardour for shaping the way forward for the automotive {industry}. He launched a brand new firm in 2020 known as Velocity Automotive Solutions and subsidiary ReconVelocity. The corporate is predicated in Destin, the place Hathcock now lives, and options a expertise heart in Atlanta.

Hathcock, Hugh and McCoy, Kalah
Hugh Hathcock and Kalah McCoy, whom he not too long ago married, on the NADA commerce present final month in Las Vegas. (Picture: Courtesy of AutoSuccessOnline)

In response to its mission assertion on-line, Velocity Automotive Options is “devoted to serving to sellers rework how they interact with their prospects and their enterprise by delivering evolving software program options that streamline and rework how dealerships share info with their prospects and create operational effectivity for rising gross earnings.”

Hathcock stated the corporate is rising and has signed up 1,000 dealerships in its first two years. Hathcock and firm executives not too long ago traveled to Las Vegas this month for the Nationwide Car Sellers Affiliation annual commerce present to advertise their newest expertise.

You would say life is sweet for Hathcock. He not too long ago married Kalah McCoy. She has blended seamlessly into Hathcock’s Orange & Blue-tinted life over the previous three years. McCoy attends Gators occasions with Hathcock and was with him at soccer coach Billy Napier‘s introductory press convention in December.

Hathcock stated the timing was proper for such a major monetary reward to the Gators.

“I bought my firm over three years in the past,” he stated. “Whenever you come into that form of cash, that makes it an excellent time. There are many nice concepts, however it’s important to put a variety of nice individuals round you, and it’s important to execute. I by no means had anyone finance me. I by no means took companions in. I by no means took any traders. To take an organization from zero and be a poor nation boy from Gainesville after which Valdosta, it has been fairly good.

“You by no means dream that whenever you begin one thing, that it is going to flip into one thing that makes you virtually a billionaire.

A a lot totally different life than Hathcock knew rising up. The one fixed has been his loyalty to the Gators.