Bluefield College received a significant show of support for its new football program, Monday, February 28, when the Town of Bluefield, Virginia, presented a $5,000 check to the school to help underwrite startup costs for the new sport.
Mayor Don Harris and other members of the Town Council presented the check during a regular Council meeting to President David Olive and other members of the BC family, including alumni and charter members of the Rams Football Booster Club.
“This is exciting for us,” Dr. Olive said, “not only for the financial support it brings to the football program, but also for the symbolic support it demonstrates from the entire Bluefield community.”
Bluefield College formally announced the return of football in June of 2010 after nearly 70 years without gridiron competition and following an extensive four-year-long study to determine the feasibility of reviving the sport.
Shortly thereafter, the college hired Mike Gravier, a coach with a history of launching new football programs and a track record of developing players both on and off the field, to begin club play in the sport this fall and intercollegiate action in the fall of 2012.
“We’ve had a great deal of support from alumni, friends, corporations, foundations and other organizations,” said Dr. Olive, “but for the Town to demonstrate its support for the college and this endeavor is significant.”
In accepting the gift, Dr. Olive spoke of the financial impact the new football program will have on the local economy. Chmura Economics & Analytics of Richmond, Virginia, recently completed an economic impact study for the college, which determined the school’s total annual economic impact on the communities in which it serves to be $14.5 million. Chmura also concluded that with the addition of football and other planned growth for BC, the overall economic impact would grow to $19.4 within the next few years.
“The return of football is generating a great deal of interest and excitement in the community, and I know as the college benefits from football so will the community,” Dr. Olive said. “It’s a great partnership the college and community have with one another.”
Joining Mayor Harris in presenting the check to BC were Council members Steve Danko, Todd Day, Jimmy Jones, Donnie Linkous and Anglis Trigg, Jr., along with Town Manager Mike Watson. On hand to accept the gift on behalf of the college were Dr. Olive, Vice President for Advancement Ruth Blankenship, Alumni Director Josh Cline, trustee and football booster Jim Justice, and alumnus and football booster Mike Harris.
“It (supporting BC football) is important because Bluefield College and the Town of Bluefield have had a tremendous working relationship over the years,” said Mayor Harris about the significance of the gift to BC. “We’re excited about the new football program at the college.”
Mayor Harris also spoke about the economic impact the new sport will have on the local economy and the benefits for residents of Bluefield, Virginia. The Town’s gift to Rams football, he said, is simply an investment in the future or an investment in economic development.
“This is a win-win situation for the college and the Town,” the mayor said. “Not only will it bring growth to Bluefield College, but through the visitors and others who attend the games it will bring economic benefits to the Town’s restaurants, stores, hotels and other businesses.”
Eighty-six donors, including the Town, have joined the Rams Football Booster Club since its inception last June. Six students are already enrolled on campus to be a part of the new football team, and at least 60 students out of a prospect pool of more than 800 are expected to join the program by this fall.