Darren Heitner Named University Of Florida Outstanding Young Alumnus

Mr. Darren Heitner is one of a select group of University of Florida alumni named to this year’s prestigious “40 Under 40.” Honorees receiving 2019 Outstanding Young Alumni awards were recognized during a campus ceremony on Saturday, April 13.

The annual awards program was established in 2006 to recognize alumni under the age of 40 whose achievements positively reflect The Gator Nation. Criteria for the competitive award include making a significant impact on the candidate’s industry and having civic or professional accomplishments at the state, national or international level.

“The word outstanding barely describes the alumni in this year’s ‘40 Under 40’ class. These young men and women are absolutely remarkable and have already made a significant impact in their professions and communities,” said Matt Hodge, executive director of the UF Alumni Association. “Collectively, they’re a wonderful reflection on The Gator Nation® and its potential to change the world.”

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award recognizes graduates from all UF’s 16 colleges. This year’s honorees range from doctors and pharmacists to entrepreneurs and artists. Past award winners include meteorologist Stephanie Abrams, politician Adam Putnam and sportscaster and television personality Erin Andrews.

Darren Heitner (BA 07, JD 10) is one of only five to ten lawyers who actually can be considered sports lawyers. When an athlete or agent thinks about hiring a sports attorney, he is at the top of the list. Heitner represents some of the biggest names in the world of sport, and he has had great success in a short amount of time. He was UF’s valedictorian and served as head of the university’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society for two years. Later, at 31, he returned to the university as a professor of sports law. He was asked by the American Bar Association to author its sports law treatise called, “How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.” A second edition of that book was published in early 2018. He created his own law firm in June 2014 after four years of practicing at two other firms, and has been driven by constant success. Not only is he known as being a top sports lawyer, his influence is felt far beyond the practice of law. He has spent roughly 13 years writing about sports and influencing anyone who either wants to enter the world of sport or is already practicing in the industry.

The 166-year-old University of Florida has more than 415,000 living alumni residing in every U.S. state and in more than 150 countries. The university has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service, and is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is ranked No. 8 in the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s list of public universities. The UF Alumni Association is responsible for a network of nearly 100 Gator Clubs, is actively involved with the recruitment of superior students, and hosts outreach and on-campus programs to connect alumni with their alma mater. To learn more, visit