In 1979, Charley Pell was the new Head Football Coach at Florida. Coach Pell recognized that Florida was a sleeping giant, but was being held back by lack of organization. He set up a road trip to challenge "Gator" supporters to organize more Gator Clubs to unite the Alumni and better support the school.
West Palm Beach had one of the few active clubs. A group of Fort Pierce and Vero alumni were invited to their banquet to hear Charley Pell speak.
Mike Picano, Dick Stebbins, Dr. John Mallonee, Randy Ezell, and Bill McQuagge drove down together. When the group returned, they were so fire up that they invited other Alumni to attend their first meeting, which eventually became the Treasure Coast Gator Club. Mike was pushed into being the first president...he was never afraid to get involved and was a Florida Letterman. The group decided that Fort Pierce was too small by itself and combining with Vero Beach would make for a stronger club.
Original foundering members included Fort Pierce: Dick Stebbins, Mac Varn, Harry Schindehette, Dr. John Mallonee, Buddy Johnson and Vero Beach: Fritz Addison, Ned Hogan, Cal and George Streitman, Janie Graves, and Gwen Rowland.
For the first 7-8 years, the club meetings were held at Varsity Sport Shop. The original Treasure Coast Gator Club logo, "the standing 'fighting gator' in pirate clothes next to the treasure chest," was Mike's wife's creation. All of these men mentored several young athletes in the early ears. (Doc Lucky comes to mind.)
Before the internet, the Treasure Coast Gator Club was starved for information about the gators. Fritz Addison from Vero was a personal friend of Charley Pell. With Fritz's involvement, the Treasure Coast Gator Club had a pipeline into Gator football and other sports.