Mitchell became the first Pasco County boys soccer team to win a state title, claiming the Class 4A title last season.
Along with the trophy, the school hoped to reward players, coaches and some administrators with championship rings. But there was a monetary hurdle. The team needed $4,500 to pay for the rings. Each ring cost between $180-$200, Mustangs coach Oscar Ubillus said.
Ubillus and athletic director Ian Mooney lobbied the community for donations, and sent out a mass e-mail soliciting fundraising ideas.
"They were ordered and we were fitted for them back in March," Ubillus said. "The cost wasn't in the school budget or our budget. I met with Mooney last week to see about paying for them."
The effort came up empty.
That's when Howard Millian stepped in and offered to pay the difference. His son, Cody Millian, was a junior on the championship team. Howard, who owns Millian-Aire Air Conditioning and Heating, said together they had attended playoff games during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl run and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Stanley Cup season.
"I had more fun watching those kids playing through the states," Howard said.
In terms of the cost of the rings, "I thought I was getting away cheap," Howard said. "I knew eventually they would get their rings, I just thought we were in a position we could afford to do it. I didn't want these kids to have to wait."
No word yet on when the rings will be presented to players.