The Howling Wolves

 

New stadium opens future to more

football success for Newberry Wolves

 

The first time I walked into Bailey Memorial Stadium at Presbyterian College, as I remember it, the day was damp and dreary. The Indians were meeting the Blue Hose in football for Newberry’s annual butt-kicking.

PC was now “the big boys” having declared an intention to leave NCAA Division II and move up to DI (which now has been accomplished). We Newberrians marveled at the new stadium. We knew PC would drop us in football because our administration refused to allow the Bronze Derby game to be played every season at Bailey Memorial Stadium.

PC, as a DI school, would have to pay us, as a smaller DII school, a fee to play - just like Florida will have to pay PC a fee to play in Gainesville Nov. 19 - and to recoup that fee, PC Athletics had to have all the money from concessions (Blue Hose football does not charge a parking fee). We played the game, we got beat, we went home.

From PC’s bright, new football stadium complex. For many years now, Newberry has continued to play at Setzler Field - quaint is an understatement for this place, although its turf is much, much better than the turf at Bailey Memorial Stadium.

Now it’s time for Newberry College to get a new stadium. It’s the second project in a very ambitious building program for the Lutheran-affiliated college, which on Friday played host to an overnight stop of 300 bicycle riders in the Alzheimer’s Association A Ride To Remember from the mountains to the sea.

I was on the stage of The Gillam Center (LCCT’s musical “Anything Goes”) the evening of June 24, when my fellow Newberry alums gathered for a fund-raising kickoff event to build a new stadium. More than 100 alumni and friends attended, to honor more than 25 Wolves (and former Indians) who are playing or have played professional football. The event was “A Night with Our Pros.”

Plans were unveiled for a $9.3 million construction project for a new stadium and adjoining buildings. It’s part of an overall $35 million comprehensive capital campaign.

I owe at least $35 million in life experiences to Newberry College. If I had the whole sum in my bank account, I would give it. That’s how much the college, which I visit twice a year during Science Olympiads, means to me and my family. 

The new stadium will be a full replacement in the current spot of Setzler Field.

The college, which is 20 miles south-east of Clinton, plans to build a stadium for football, lacrosse and field hockey, with new press box, scoreboard and fan seating, a stadium village that features a field house and four adjacent buildings, a field house that includes a football locker room, equipment room and athletic training facilities on the first floor, and second floor that will contain four academic classrooms, two conference rooms and office space for athletic administration, and the four smaller buildings that will house locker rooms and offices for field hockey, women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse and football coaching staff. 

“With more than one-third of the needed gifts and pledges already raised, we have taken an incredible first step toward achieving our goal for a new stadium complex,” Newberry President Dr. Maurice Scherrens said. “Our new stadium complex will be among the best in the conference and will provide the kind of facilities that will provide our student-athletes a competitive advantage and a bright, winning future.”

Newberry is a land-locked college. It’s not like PC which has a rolling pasture out behind its softball complex, where the Clinton YMCA stages youth football. Newberry’s football complex will not have the gigantic “front yard” that Bailey Memorial Stadium has. Parking is going to be an issue.

But it’s an issue everywhere. I remember when SC State football fans came to Setzler Field, and had to park 100 yards from the stadium. They set up their tailgating under the bleachers of the (then, now gone) on-campus baseball field. This is great, they said, usually we have to park about a mile from our stadium - and walk. Major donors to Newberry College Athletics will park across the street - aptly named, College Street - from the new football stadium.

To grow, Newberry College has to engage in “urban sprawl.” Its baseball/softball complex is on the other side of the cemetery. Its Teacher Education program this coming fall moves into a former elementary school, three blocks from campus. The $35 million capital campaign envisions readapting several on-campus buildings - just as PC is doing with its iconic Neville Hall.

You see, our two colleges - Newberry College and Presbyterian College - have more in common than some people think. Justin Bethel, of the Arizona Cardinals, gave money to PC sports medicine for hot/cold recovery tanks. Newberry’s football pros are lending their influence to the stadium project. 

The June 24 kickoff included a Q & A session with former Wolves turned NFL players Brandon Bostick, Ron Parker, Edmond Robinson, Alstevis Squirewell and Corey Washington. They were joined on the panel by retired pros Rick Sargent and Herb Spencer. They discussed their preparation at Newberry College and some of their experiences as professional players.

All of them played on Setzler Field.

“We have proven we can do great things with our existing facilities,” said head football coach Todd Knight, who emceed the event. “I’m eager to see how much more we can achieve with new facilities that will improve our ability to recruit top talent and give our student-athletes the best opportunities to succeed at their sport and in the classroom.”

That’s what PC wants, too. Academic, athletic and service success. It’s a common denominator. It makes us more alike, than different.

 

(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. Reach him at 833-1900 or sports@clintonchronicle.net.)

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P.O. Box 180
513 North Broad St.
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-1900
Fax: (864) 833-1902

 

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