New bear comes to the den

Former Belk President presents Mercer with “terrifying” new bear statue

Photo+by+Jenna+Eason
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New bear comes to the den

Photo by Jenna Eason

Photo by Jenna Eason

Jenna Eason

Photo by Jenna Eason

Jenna Eason

Jenna Eason

Photo by Jenna Eason

Sarah Pounds, News Editor

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At the first football game, there will be a new feature that has already caused an uproar among some Mercer fans.

It’s a bear. A big bear.

The new bronze statue measures over 10 feet long and weighs 1,800 pounds. It’s a gift to the university from retired businessman Irwin Belk, who is the former president of Belk department stores. Belk commissioned Gregory Johnson, a Georgia resident, to create the sculpture.

Brian Gerrity, senior associate director of athletics and executive director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation, said the fierce statue will make an impact on game day, according to a Mercer press release.

“Thanks to the generosity of Irwin Belk and the craftsmanship of Gregory Johnson, this statue is going to completely change the entrance to Five Star Stadium on game day,” Gerrity said in the statement. “It will be a focal point for pictures and a place to rally around.”

The donated installation captured the attention of USA Today Sports’ “For The Win” page, where they said that the bear was “terrifying” and “pretty ferocious-looking.”

Johnson said that the bear is supposed to be that way.

“What I attempt to do when I sculpt is make the sculptures so lifelike that they look like they can get down off of their settings,” Johnson said. “This bear will give strength to our team and make the opponent tremble with fear.”

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