President Underwood Starts Football Initiative

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President Underwood Starts Football Initiative

A view of Five Star Stadium

A view of Five Star Stadium

Peter Garcia

A view of Five Star Stadium

Peter Garcia

Peter Garcia

A view of Five Star Stadium

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In 2013, the Mercer Football team returned to the field, playing their first game in a little over 70 years. President Underwood’s Chief of Staff Larry Brumley described the day as “filled with excitement” with “tickets for the comeback season selling out long before the games even started.”

A little over six years after the Bears’ triumphant return, alumni and students have started to notice a lull in the excitement surrounding game day at the Five Star Stadium. “The newness is wearing off,” Brumley said. “We are trying to find a way to rebuild the excitement the community felt back in 2013.”

To recreate that excitement, Underwood has assembled a team of individuals made up of  “alumni, staff, student life, students and marketing” to meet and discuss different ways to bring the spirit of excitement back to Mercer football gamedays.

“There is nothing wrong, but something that we take very seriously at Mercer is continuing to grow and make things better,” Brumley said. “We are just using this six-year mark as a way to re-evaluate.”

Before the team’s hiatus in 1941, the Mercer football team had created a name for itself.

“Mercer actually played in the first college football game in Georgia, against the University of Georgia,” Brumley said. “Some people may not know that UGA’s Sanford Stadium is actually named after a Mercer alum, and one of our football coaches went on to be a football coach over at the University of Georgia.”

Some of the changes being discussed by Brumley and the team include establishing a stronger WiFi signal in the stadium and installing a new, larger video board to give students in the Lofts a better view of the action..

Brumley says that these are just a few of the changes that were discussed in the first meeting.

“Overall, we just want people who come to the game to leave with a smile, whether we won or lost the game,” Brumley said.

Underwood’s task force is only at the beginning stages of making the changes, having only had one meeting so far.

The task force is “working closely” with the Director of Campus Life and Student Involvement, Carrie Ingoldsby, to keep student opinions involved in the changes. The first of these attempts was an email that students received last week containing a survey about the 2018 football season.

“Athletics, when done right, can be a way to create a good student body, and President Underwood wants to continue to capitalize on the good things football brings to our campus,” Brumley said.

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