PC announces $8 million initiative to improve athletic facilities
Presbyterian College launched the public phase of an $8 million philanthropic initiative to improve athletic facilities during a Lettermen’s Day event on campus Jan. 29.
The Championship Spirit: Building on a Proud Legacy campaign is one of the most significant fundraising initiatives for facilities in the college’s history. The college’s goal is to have the $8 million raised by June 30, in time for the target date to get construction and renovations underway this fall.
The centerpiece of the project is a multipurpose facility for PC’s newest sports – men’s and women’s wrestling, competitive cheer, and acrobatics and tumbling. In addition to practice and training sites for those sports, the building will also house coaches’ offices and locker rooms.
Acrobatics and tumbling coach Amber Morrell said PC’s newest sports have been practicing off-campus for several years and will significantly benefit from having their dedicated facility.
“These young people are going to have their own space, and we’ll have our own locker rooms and coaches’ offices,” she said. “A safe place to practice and train and, more importantly, it’s going to be on campus. It’s really going to feel like home.”
New seating, a press box, lights, coaches’ offices, and locker rooms will substantially improve the Blue Hose softball field.
Head coach David Williams said the proposed improvements are summed up with one word.
“Opportunity,” he said. “An opportunity for us to provide a better student-athlete experience. An opportunity to provide a better game day experience for our fans. An opportunity for past, present, and future players to see the development of our program and institution. One particular opportunity I’m very excited about is our ability to host the Big South championship in 2025 – an opportunity we otherwise would not have without the enhancements we’re receiving.”
The Templeton Physical Education Center gymnasium, home court to men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, will benefit from new bleachers, new video boards, and an HVAC system. Competitive cheer coach Shana Spann said air conditioning is a noticeable improvement, but the video board will engage fans and sponsors to a greater degree.
Fresh off its 2021 Big South Championship and PC’s first national tournament appearance, baseball, in addition to the lights that were added last fall, will add a new press box, bleachers, restrooms, concessions, and a field house for coaches’ offices and locker rooms.
Head coach Elton Pollock ’95 said improvements to the PC Baseball Complex will be “game-changing.”
“It will absolutely change the game and our ability to recruit and continue to recruit quality men and women,” he said. “I believe that this process and place produce men and women like no other.”
PC president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg told the PC Lettermen crowd that the college’s championship spirit – “audacious, relentless enthusiasm and confidence” – is the key to victory.
“As PC lettermen, you don’t need me to tell you anything about what it means to be a champion,” he said. “As a group, you’ve shown your championship spirit over and over again throughout the generations. We’ve had legendary coaches, exceptional athletes, epic wins, undefeated seasons, division titles. Student-athletes have been among the best and the brightest scholars and our most engaged and successful alumni. Athletics has literally been an irreplaceable part of the PC student experience for almost as long as we’ve been around. That same championship culture you built hasn’t left this place. It’s alive and well.”
PC supporters have already displayed the “Championship Spirit,” with some of the most considerable gifts in its Division I history, totaling $6.29 million. Steering committee chair Thomas Free ’91 was singled out for his $1 million gift, the campaign’s largest thus far, as was one of the initiative’s first donors, former softball player Tina Bolden’ O5.
Free said he was eager for the opportunity to get off the sidelines and into the game.
“These new and revitalized facilities will give our student-athletes the training facilities they need – they deserve – to maximize their performance,” he said. “We all know that athletics plays a significant role in the success of an institution, not only for athletes but non-athletes, as well. Athletics provides a sense of pride among our student body and our alumni. It allows us to achieve and sustain a sense of community that PC is known for.”
Alumni Brad and Mary Spearman both challenged their fellow PC graduates to join the effort to improve their alma mater’s athletics facilities.
“Student-athletes are making PC better, and it is time for us to make PC better for them,” said Mary ’84.
Brad Spearman said PC’s coaches also deserve the proposed improvements.
“I can’t think of a greater calling,” he said. “Our coaches need these facilities to be able to recruit and retain the highest quality student-athletes. We have the opportunity in front of us and the power to make that difference in the lives of young people now and in the future. We’re all a part of PC’s legacy. Every one of us. It’s our chance now to build on that legacy.”