‘Quiet UCF Super Fan’ Dan Dotter ’99 Talks UCF Impact, New Business
After more than two decades as a public school teacher, Dan Dotter ’99 is now serving his community and beyond through his new business, Brightway Insurance.
By Camille Dolan ’98
Sometimes, Dan Dotter ’99 thinks back on his time at UCF and is hard-pressed to say why his memories are still so meaningful.
“I was only there for two years,” Dotter says, “But I really enjoyed it, and it’s, you know, really, really important to me. Even more than 20 years later, I am still a very proud alumnus.”
Recently, Dotter transitioned from a 22-year career in education to owning his own business – Brightway Insurance, The Dotter Agency in New Port Richey. He says he owes it all to UCF.
“I am a UCF super fan,” Dotter says, “But I am typically reserved, and not really boisterous at all. I’m a quiet super fan.”
Growing up in the St. Petersburg area, Dotter attended his first two years at a community college there. He had a family member who had gone to UCF, so he figured he would finish his degree there. He knew he wanted to be a teacher.
In addition to being attentive to his studies, Dotter was also impressed by UCF Athletics. He had grown up playing baseball and knew the importance of sports in an individual’s life. Plus, going to the Citrus Bowl for football games was exciting, especially in the two years that Dotter was a student.
“I never missed a home game,” Dotter says.
From 1995 to 1998, Quarterback Daunte Culpepper rewrote virtually all of UCF’s quarterback records, and would finish his college career sixth on the NCAA’s all-time offense list for all divisions with 12,459 yards and was responsible for 108 career touchdowns.
And Dotter was there to bear witness.
“I had actually seen him play when he was in high school in Ocala,” Dotter says.
It was an exciting time for high school football for Florida teams. Dotter was also fortunate to see Shaun King, a Tulane standout who was then a classmate of Dotter’s at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg. King also went on to play in the NFL.
“For sure, a lot of my nostalgia and great feelings for UCF has to do with athletics – not just football, but I also began following our baseball team, because that was my big sport growing up,” Dotter says.
At the Gasparilla Bowl, Jake Hescock threw his gloves to Jack Dotter after the game.
Dotter and his wife, Kristi, have been season ticket holders since 2018. Their children, Jack and Savana, are also becoming Knight fans, and the Dotters attend all the home games, and as many away games as they are able.
“Kristi is a converted Knight,” Dotter says. “She graduated from Purdue, but has a shirt that says, ‘I married into this,’ and we’re all die-hard Knights now.”
One of their greatest family memories, Dotter says, was during UCF’s championship season in 2018. Somehow, they were able to score two extra tickets for the Ohana game, and Jack and Savana, then 7 and 4, were able to attend. The Dotter family will never forget that day in December.
“The atmosphere was just crazy,” Dotter recalls. “They were giving out leis to honor McKenzie Milton, and we saw the cheerleaders walk up to our kids, who were all decked out in their UCF gear; Savana was wearing a little UCF cheerleader dress. A photographer from the Orlando Sentinel came up and snapped the picture, which made it into the article. And then, just the game, which was amazing. So, yeah, it was nice to be able to share that with the kids that day; We were really glad they were able to go.”
Dotter knows that his family lives in the shadows of UCF’s rival in the War on I-4. What if his children consider the “other” school as an option when they are older?
“No way,” Dotter says, quietly. “Horns down.”
As Dotter’s children became more involved in extra-curricular activities, Dotter began thinking about transitioning out of education and into owning his own business.
“One of the main reasons I was interested in starting my own business was to have more flexible hours,” Dotter says. “Jack is in baseball, and Savana is in softball, and it’s so important that I support them in any way that I can. And the great thing about Brightway is that I can set my own hours and still get the work done that I need to get done.”
When he first started teaching, one of the things that appealed to him was that he was also able to help coach the student-athletes. Currently, Dotter has been helping coach Jack’s team and has been amazed by Savana’s progress.
“She just started playing softball less than a year ago and already made the all-star team. Now, she is getting ready to go to their state tournament,” Dotter says, with more than a hint of pride.
“It’s different when you’re coaching your own kids, but really rewarding to be able to do that after coaching other people’s kids for so many years.”
Dotter says his training as an educator and a coach has prepared him for his new role.
“As a teacher and coach, my goal was always to help people make the best decision they could make when faced with different choices,” Dotter says. “As a Realtor and Brightway insurance agent, I present my clients with all of the information that they need and answer their questions to the best of my abilities so that they have an informed understanding of their options,” Dotter says. “I look forward to meeting my neighbors in New Port Richey (as well as my fellow Knights anywhere in Florida) and helping them with their insurance needs. And, if you just want to talk about UCF, I can help with that, too! Go Knights!”