Shepherd University kicking off athletics club with Sept. 14 launch party
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Over a year-and-a-half ago, Shepherd University Associate Dean of Athletics Chauncey Winbush realized the athletics department needed to find new avenues of revenue to support its twelve varsity teams.
While clubs like the 100+ Soccer Club and Ram Gridiron Club support specific teams at Shepherd, not all of Shepherd’s teams have a club to fund their needs. And, according to Winbush, the best way to encourage support for all of the university’s teams is through creating a club bringing attention to the athletics program as a whole.
After Winbush decided to create the Shepherd University Athletic Club, he began in summer 2017 to build the club’s 15-member board.
“Scott Doleman is the president of the Shepherd University Athletic Club. He is a 1995 graduate of Shepherd University, a former three-sport athlete and hall of famer,” Winbush said, mentioning the two men he formalized the club’s plans with were Shepherd University Board of Governors Chairman Eric Lewis and Shepherd University Foundation President Chris Colbert.
“Ninety-five percent of our board members are former student athletes at Shepherd,” Winbush said. “I think that’s what’s really great about the club — the board is made up of alumni and former student athletes. That means they had a great experience here, and they understand the importance of supporting these initiatives and these athletic programs.”
According to Winbush, the club will host fundraising events throughout the year, to support a variety of needs during the school year.
“The SUAC will be the parent company, if you will, and then directly underneath the SUAC will be specific clubs for specific sports. Each one of the twelve varsity sports that we sponsor will have their own clubs. We already have a couple established, but we are working to add other clubs, to tennis and women’s lacrosse, and so forth,” Winbush said. “So, eventually, you would be a member of the SUAC, and if you designated your funds for a specific area in athletics, you would be a member of that club as well.
“If you’re interested in being a member or corporate sponsor of the club, or donating to a scholarship, you’ll be able to do all of that through the SUAC. It’s not just about membership, it’s about generating opportunities for the athletic program,” Winbush said, mentioning the SUAC will use its funds to help with athletics program maintenance, fund athletic scholarships and improve the department’s facilities.
According to Winbush, the board has based many of its ideas off of those from similar organizations, including West Virginia University’s Mountaineer Athletic Club and the U.S. Naval Academy’s Blue and Gold membership club.
“We’re at a a point where we’re ready to go out to the masses, so we’re having a launch party on Friday, September 14. This is our first official event to communicate to our fans, to donors, to supporters, to student athletes, to administration, about what this club is all about,” Winbush said, mentioning those interested in attending the launch should register at suathleticclub.org/launch.
The launch party will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Smallwood and Small Pavilion at Ram Stadium, and will feature small appetizers, beer and wine.