Catawba Football under the Lights August 26
The last time Catawba College played football under the lights in Shuford Stadium was 1974, but the institution will break its 32-year hiatus on Saturday, August 26.
At 7 p.m. that day, Catawba will play its season opener against Winston-Salem State University under the lights. Lights Were a Grassroots Effort by Fans This first evening game, one of three scheduled for the 2006 season, marks a milestone for hundreds of Catawba Indians fans who participated in a grassroots effort to fund the stadium lights. Five individuals, all loyal Chiefs Club members and Salisbury residents, led the Light Her Up campaign to raise $150,000 in gifts and pledges. These individuals included Summersett Summie Carter and Frank Goodnight, along with Catawba College Alumni Bill Hall '66, Charlie Little '64 and Dick Smith '56. Collectively, they persuaded nearly 200 donors to support their cause.
When Shuford Stadium was rebuilt in 2002, there were many fans who felt like something was still missing, explained Dick Smith, who also sits on the board of the Catawba Chiefs Club. We needed lights to truly have a state-of-the-art facility, and many of us were willing to put money and time into an effort to get them. When we asked folks to help us, it was almost a groundswell of support with people saying, 'We'll give.' With Catawba only having afternoon games in recent years, we were in total competition for fans with the big schools, Smith continued. When we had had lights years ago, many fans would go to see the Big 4 schools (UNC, Duke, NCSU and Wake Forest) play and then come back to Salisbury to attend Catawba's night games. Now, we think the same thing can happen again.
Comfort and Attendance Expected to Increase
Catawba College Senior Vice President Tom Childress lauded those donors for helping to make the stadium even better and safer. Each year, we grew more and more concerned with the health and welfare of our athletes on the playing field in the midday heat and our fans sitting out in the hot sun. These lights give us some new flexibility in when we use the facility, and they allow and create more opportunities for people from both the College and the Rowan-Salisbury community to use the stadium. Catawba Indians Head Football Coach Chip Hester agreed. We're looking forward to playing some of our home games in the evening this year and I've heard from plenty of fans who are looking forward to coming out. I think we'll see some new attendance records set this season.
Fireworks after the Game
Catawba's Director of Athletic Development Gordon Kirkland '70 noted that fans attending the August 26th game will be treated to a special after-the-game fireworks show, sponsored by Wachovia Bank, N.A. of Salisbury and orchestrated by Melrose Pyrotechnics of Catawba, S.C. This is the same outfit that provides fireworks for the Carolina Panthers and for the Country Club of Salisbury, Kirkland explained. Plans are to shoot the fireworks from the College practice fields and to turn off some of the stadium lights so fans can enjoy the fireworks display. We're even planning some Catawba blue and white fireworks during it. The names of donors who made gifts of $1,000 or more to support the stadium lighting will be displayed on a plaque in the concourse area of the stadium.
Other Home Games
Other Catawba Indians games scheduled to start at 7 p.m. under the lights this season include a September 16th match against Virginia State and an October 14th contest against Carson-Newman. Catawba also has afternoon home games scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. against Tusculum College on October 21st and against Presbyterian College on November 4th. Tickets will be available at the gate for all of these contests and are priced at $10 for general admission, $15 for reserved seating, $5 for students ages 6-12, and free for children under 5. For more information about this year's team, visit www.gocatawbaindians.com.