GenTeal Apparel is providing the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation (OMAF) an exclusive line of shirts that will be included in gift boxes for members of the Vaught Society, an organization focused on strengthening UM sports programs through private support.
GenTeal’s gift, valued at $156,000, fuels CHAMPIONS. NOW., OMAF’s ongoing campaign to improve facilities for student-athletes.
“The university, both on the academic side and the athletics side, has been very good to us since we started our business,” said Blake Dubinski of Oxford, Mississippi, co-founder of GenTeal. “When (OMAF development officers) Javon Patterson and William Fisher initially proposed the idea of creating a unique shirt for Vaught Society members, I recognized the opportunity to establish a mutually beneficial partnership. It enables us to build more brand awareness and it saves Athletics time and money spent going somewhere else for the product.”
GenTeal, with its flying duck logo, has literally soared since Dubinski and his business partner, UM biology professor Brice Noonan, started the company in 2016. The merchandise line is now available in hundreds of retail stores across the southeast United States. In 2022, GenTeal was recognized as No. 1,417 in Inc.com’s list of the top 5,000 fastest-growing companies in America and No. 1 in Mississippi.
GenTeal’s spring performance polos are its pillars, but the company also produces cotton-based zips and quarter-zips, flannels, sport shirts, T-shirts, belts, wallets, hats and more.
“The quality of their merchandise represents the excellence that we strive to maintain within our Athletics programs at Ole Miss. That, combined with GenTeal’s founders being so closely associated with Ole Miss, makes this a perfect gift for our Vaught Society members,” Fisher said. “We are extremely grateful to Blake and Brice for making this gift available.”
Dubinski, an adjunct instructor of management at Ole Miss, graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2013. After a brief stint in pharmaceutical sales, he returned to Ole Miss and completed his MBA in 2015.
After the two met in 2014 through a mutual friend, Noonan showed Dubinski a logo he’d drawn and the idea for GenTeal began to take shape.
“We hope our gift allows the Athletics Foundation to allocate additional funding to facilities that give our student-athletes and coaches the best opportunity to succeed on and off the field,” said Noonan, adding that they recognize the positive impact a successful athletics program has on enrollment, loyalty to the university and overall camaraderie.
After graduate school, Dubinski began teaching classes in the School of Business Administration, including business communications, principles of management, strategic management and more.
He also served as the Entrepreneur in Residence for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) within the business school, where he was able to share with students his experience in starting and growing a successful business.
This year, Dubinski was named to the Ole Miss Alumni Association’s 2023 40 Under 40 class — UM alumni who have achieved great success early in their careers.
“I have some tremendous memories being a part of Ole Miss games: my first gameday experience in the Grove, storming the field in 2014 after beating Alabama and watching our baseball team win a National Championship, just to name a few,” he said. “Ole Miss Athletics has been a special part of my life.
“What (Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics) Keith Carter and his team have done in a short period of time is incredible,” Dubinski continued. “I am excited about the direction of our programs and I am looking forward to creating more of those memories being a part of Rebel wins.”
A native of south Florida, Noonan has taught courses in introductory biology, genetics, evolution and herpetology. In addition to his courses on the Oxford campus, he has taught courses in the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic and aboard ships throughout the Caribbean. His personal research focuses primarily on tropical reptiles and amphibians but also includes fish and invertebrates.
By Bill Dabney/UM Foundation