Western Carolina University


Image: Visiting the locker room are (from left to right) Chip Smith, athletics director; Coach Kent Briggs, head football coach; and Bill Richter, director of athletic development.
Visiting the locker room are (from left to right) Chip Smith, athletics director; Kent Briggs, head football coach; and Bill Richter, director of athletic development.

Renovations have begun on the Dale and Diane Hollifield Football Locker Room in Western's Ramsey Regional Activity Center, even though current donations are approximately $75,000 short of the project's $225,000 total cost.

When the work is complete, each player will have a beautiful, wooden locker with a secure area for valuables, and, for the first time, there will be enough seating for team meetings. The old locker room, with hooks on the wall in a communal area and insufficient meeting space, is not up to the standards of locker rooms most high school athletic teams are using, let alone the colleges and universities Western competes with, said Bill Richter, director of athletic development at Western.

Dale Hollifield (Class of ‘65) and wife Diane (Class of '66) made a lead gift to help fund the locker room renovation project. “I played football for Dan Robinson for three years,” Hollifield said. “The program taught me a lot, and I felt like I needed to give back to the university. If you want your school to have a good, successful program, you've got to have good facilities.”

“The atmosphere in the locker room on game day is like no other experience," said Head Football Coach Kent Briggs. “The bonding of a team preparing for battle creates a special environment. The locker room is our ‘house' -- the one place where we can look each other in the eye and feel the power of being a team. As a former Catamount football player, I am so proud of the many Catamount supporters who realized the great need for a major renovation and are making it a reality. The new locker room is going to be first class and built by Catamount Pride. It will be a showcase for future players to feel the legacy of former Catamounts and true supporters. And it will live forever. But more importantly, our players will have a place to feel the awesome privilege of being part of ‘the Cats.'”

Hollifield agrees. “Former football players know how important the locker room is for recruiting and for the team's own use. It speaks to the quality of the program and the pride of the players and coaches in their school.”

“This project is both a significant enhancement of the football facilities and a visible demonstration of the Hollifields' loyalty to the university. We are deeply gratified by their support of Catamount Athletics in such a generous manner,” said Chip Smith, athletics director at Western.

At this point, about 100 former football players have contributed $500 apiece for the right to have their names inscribed on one of the new lockers, Richter said. He's appealing to Catamount Club members, former football players and other alum to support the project with gifts of any amount; to honor a friend, family member or former teammate; or to purchase and name a locker for themselves.

In the meantime, the university is footing part of the bill. “I am very grateful to Chancellor John Bardo and to vice chancellors Chuck Wooten in administration and Clifton Metcalf in development for allowing us to proceed with construction without enough donations to cover all of the renovations,” Richter said. “Further delay would have increased the cost of the project and left our team with the old space for another season.”

Richter says the renovation work cannot be completed without donations to cover the total cost. As a result, he will be focusing his efforts in that area while he continues to work on overall athletic development. “We need to increase support for both our general athletic scholarship fund and the Marty Ramsey Summer School programs, to attract more Catamount Club members, and to secure endowments and estate gifts for all of Western's athletic programs. With sufficient support, we can build a program that everyone will be proud of,” Richter said.

Go Cats!

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Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Western Carolina University