Newberry College’s homecoming was awesome

By Ralph Patterson Contributing Columnist

Dear Newberry Supporters,

Friday set the tone for the weekend as Alumni poured into town to celebrate the first success of our capital campaign with the ribbon cutting and open house at the fabulous Speers Street Center for Teacher Education. This event validated the importance of our campaign theme — Scaling the Summit — as students, faculty, alumni, and friends rejoiced together.

Indoor and outdoor activities for students and alumni infused the large crowds with an infectious energy, gearing them up for a full Saturday. The eighth annual Alumni Association 5K Run/Walk started this special day. Our Field Hockey team defeated Sewanee 2-1 in exciting fashion in a noon start, and then students and alumni congregated on a beautiful day for lunch and tailgating.

The next opportunity to enjoy was at 1 p.m. as our Volleyball team took on perennial powerhouse and nationally-ranked Wingate University. Our Wolves came through in fine fashion as they were victorious by smashing Wingate 3-1. Further fueling the Newberry Homecoming spirit was the Homecoming Parade at 1:30 p.m.

As I wandered around and through the tailgating areas all around campus and surrounding Setzler Field, it was heartwarming to see the Newberry community – students, alumni, friends, and others – share in a collective celebration of Newberry College, a place that so many hold close to their hearts.

Then, the anticipated football game against a great opponent – the Carson-Newman Eagles – took place in front of a packed stadium of 4,988 fans, the third-largest crowd ever at Setzler Field, the oldest college stadium in the state of South Carolina. Carson-Newman threw the first few punches and marched to a 13-0 lead. Then Coach Todd Knight’s troops turned things around and stormed their way to a 28-19 halftime lead.

Newberry’s marching band entertained at halftime and our Homecoming King and Queen were crowned. As the second half began, our towel-waving crowd roared with approval as our football team finished off the Eagles in style. The game ended on a defensive touchdown, and all of us celebrated an important 34-19 South Atlantic Conference win against a quality opponent. Our passionate goal of winning a conference championship is in our hands.

I was proud of so many things during this Homecoming celebration. Obviously, I was thrilled that our field hockey, volleyball, and football teams were triumphant. I was appreciative of the constant encouragement the football team received from our cheerleaders, dance team, marching band, and fans as we needed everyone to help make a difference for Newberry. It was gratifying to see special alumni relationships before, during, and after the games.

It was extremely rewarding to see the efficiency of our behind the scenes athletic support staff members that are so important to the success of big weekends like this one. Our game operations director, Wayne Alexander and his staff, along with Randall Stewart and his sports information crew, handled three sporting events in one day masterfully.

We needed them to come through and they did. It was all hands on deck for our advancement and athletic staffs, sports medicine staff, faculty, facilities maintenance and grounds personnel, food service, emergency work force, and all of our game day staff. Everyone came through for Newberry College.

It was awesome to see so many student groups involved on game day, and watching our Newberry ROTC students perform push-ups after every score is fantastic. Newberry fraternities, sororities, and other student groups were out in force and were loud and proud.

It was magnificent to see so many businesses in downtown Newberry with their store front windows decorated for our Homecoming. A real town-and-gown love affair is great to see.

The best part of Homecoming Newberry style was seeing our campus packed with activity, seeing students, faculty and staff coming together for great events, seeing alumni laughing and hugging and tailgating and the day finished perfectly with our football team winning their sixth consecutive game in convincing fashion.

Newberry College is a special place where dreams are made and where all of us came together for an incredible weekend. Homecoming Weekend provides so many awesome opportunities. The Lord blessed all of us last weekend, and I can’t wait to start preparing for next year’s Homecoming.

The dream for me includes more successes from our capital campaign so we can provide new athletic facilities for our student-athletes. They are worthy of your support, and your support is required to help us move forward with new facilities and make new memories as we compete for championships.

Thanks for supporting Newberry College, and thanks for a phenomenal weekend! Let’s go, WOLVES!

By Ralph Patterson Contributing Columnist Ralph Patterson Contributing Columnist

Ralph Patterson is the athletic director for Newberry College.

Ralph Patterson is the athletic director for Newberry College.

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