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‘Gators Mourn

If you wonder how the University of Florida can hire a football coach for $2 million/year, one of the reasons is the concoction mixed up by Dr. Robert Cade, UF Researcher Who Invented Gatorade

Now sold in 80 countries in dozens of flavors, Gatorade was born thanks to a question from former Gator Coach Dwayne Douglas, Cade said in a 2005 interview with The Associated Press.

He asked, “Doctor, why don’t football players wee-wee after a game?”

“That question changed our lives,” Cade said.

Cade’s researchers determined a football player could lose up to 18 pounds — 90 to 95 percent of it water — during the three hours it takes to play a game. Players sweated away sodium and chloride and lost plasma volume and blood volume.

Using their research, and about $43 in supplies, they concocted a brew for players to drink while playing football. The first batch was not exactly a hit.

“It sort of tasted like toilet bowl cleaner,” said Dana Shires, one of the researchers.

“I guzzled it and I vomited,” Cade said.

The researchers added some sugar and some lemon juice to improve the taste. It was first tested on freshmen because Coach Ray Graves didn’t want to hurt the varsity team. Eventually, however, the use of the sports beverage spread to the Gators, who enjoyed a winning record and were known as a “second-half team” by outlasting opponents.

Stokely-Van Camp obtained the licensing rights for Gatorade and began marketing it as the “beverage of champions.” PepsiCo Inc. now owns the brand, which has brought the university more than $150 million in royalties since 1973.

Dr. Cade died of kidney failure at 80. The University has made over $150 million from what amounts to lemonade made with salt water.

6 comments

1 Michael { 11.27.07 at 10:54 pm }

And every sponsored research officer at every university in the world hopes and prays that s/he’ll someday get to work on the research agreement that leads to the next Gatorade. God knows my job would be a hell of a lot easier if my university had $150 mil in licensing royalties to use as a cushion against required cost-shares, to tide over researchers who are in between grants, etc. (And I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt my salary rate, either.)

2 Bryan { 11.27.07 at 11:04 pm }

California has a number of licensing agreements, but Florida has been an innovator, and actually goes the other way with the Florida State licensing agreement with the Seminole tribe – FSU pays royalties to the tribe to use the name.

It would sure be nice if no college or university were dependent on politicians.

Energy is going to be a big field and you have mentioned that you have research in the area. Here’s hoping it creates something profitable and useful.

3 Fallenmonk { 11.28.07 at 5:09 am }

I always wondered why it was called Gatorade but was never curious enough to research it. Nice little bit of trivia and a great deal for the university.

4 Bryan { 11.28.07 at 10:46 am }

The name on the logo colors are both from Gainesville, FM. We make a number of interesting potables up where the pines outnumber the palms.

5 Sorghum Crow { 11.28.07 at 1:21 pm }

I remember when it hit the market. I was a kid playing soccer in Atlanta. Before Gatorade, we took salt tablets before games and were only allowed orange slices and sips of water at half time.

6 Bryan { 11.28.07 at 1:36 pm }

Yep, we did the same routine in upstate New York when I played soccer in high school, and I guarantee the weather was not warm. It took a pretty good blizzard to call a game for snow, and you played through the rain.

The oranges in New York weren’t especially juicy, but that was it for an hour on the field.