NEWBERRY — When the first Newberry football team took the field in 1913, it had 15 players, with only eight at a time on the field. Players didn’t wear helmets in those days, either. Newberry College football has come a long way commemorating its 100th year this season.
In the century since, the football program has earned three conference championships, had approximately 70 All-Americans, and sent numerous players to the professional leagues.
Head coach Todd Knight said the program’s history is always in mind.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “When you think about 100 years of football, you imagine all the people who came before you. You think about all those who struggled and didn’t have what we have, and it just makes you appreciate where the program is today.”
Knight’s staff of nine coaches has four Newberry alums: Stephen Flynn, Jeremiah Jones, Hunter Spivey and Drew Watson. Two volunteer coaches are also Newberry graduates.
“One word to describe this team would have to be ‘family,’” Knight said. “This crowd picks each other up, and cares so much about one another. It has to be one of the closer crowds I’ve ever coached. And it’s not just me that notices it. After our home games, multiple alumni have approached me and said that they’ve seen the players get behind one another after bad plays and build each other up. There is just something special about this crowd.”
As the Wolves lead Newberry football into its next hundred years, they play this season with big expectations and hope to continue their current success throughout the season.
Sharon Irwin is a Newberry College communications student.