Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

Blugold Football Kicks Off Initiative to Build Endowment

RELEASED: Aug. 20, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — When the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire football team helps the university celebrate its centennial in 2016, it hopes to have a $2 million endowment to secure its future. The Blugolds' First-and-10 Initiative to build the endowed Kell Football Opportunity Fund to $2 million already has received a major boost with gifts and pledges totaling $170,000, increasing the endowment to nearly $350,000.

UW-Eau Claire football playerThe Kell Football Opportunity Fund was established in 2003 by John and Betsy Kell and the Kell Container Corp. John Kell, who played football for the Blugolds in the early 1970s, and died in 2005. His wife, Betsy, learned of the plan to further increase the endowment and wanted to help kick off the First-and-10 Initiative. She recently committed $100,000 to the project. When the Kell Football Opportunity Fund reaches the $2 million mark, it will provide funding to supplement the university's annual football budget.

"John was passionate about football and was pleased to be involved in creating the first endowment for the Blugold football program," Kell said. "This new project provides continued momentum to support the program. I am very pleased to help get it off the ground."

Another Blugold football family, the Gordy and Lynda Hoffmann family, also has made an early commitment of $50,000 to the endowment. Gordy Hoffmann, of Stillwater, Minn., played Blugold football from 1958-62 and graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1966. His son, Jim, of St. Paul, Minn., played quarterback and receiver for the Blugolds from 1993-96. The two-time All-Conference recipient graduated in 1996. Gordy Hoffmann's wife, Lynda; daughters, Andrea and Jennifer; and son-in-law, Jeff Johnston, also are UW-Eau Claire alumni. Gordy Hoffmann is working closely with UW-Eau Claire head football coach Todd Glaser to contact football alumni to participate in the First-and-10 Initiative.

Two other commitments of $10,000 each have been received from members of the 1964-65 championship Blugolds team and Dr. John Drawbert, the Blugolds' team physician. In addition, Brian Allen, a 1962 UW-Eau Claire graduate and former Blugold player from San Jose, Calif., has made a significant commitment through his estate that eventually be added to the Kell Football Opportunity Fund. Allen and several other former Blugold players have volunteered to assist with the First-and-10 Initiative.

"For us to reach the next level of achievement by attracting the best players and developing our players' abilities to the maximum, we must build on this endowment to provide sustaining funds year in and year out," Glaser said. "We have been encouraged and motivated by these early and generous commitments to our plan to build the endowment and provide a steady source of funds. We believe that the university and the community want us to have a first-class program, and we know we can achieve that level of success with the help of our football alumni and friends."

Supplemental funding like the Kell Football Opportunity Fund is necessary because, as an NCAA Division III school, UW-Eau Claire cannot offer scholarships when recruiting players for its athletics programs, Glaser said. Since recruiting, even at the Division III level, is so competitive, an endowment to supplement university funding provides a critical margin of excellence.

"When Gordy Hoffmann heard that our players have to give $500 of their own money just for the opportunity to play, he said it was time that alumni got involved and helped raised funds for our program," Glaser said.

"It's time we got this done," Hoffmann said. "It's becoming increasingly more difficult for the Blugolds, who play in the toughest Division III in the nation, to compete at the national level, which is where we want to be. We now will be able to provide a quality education and quality experience for our football players. I am proud to be part of something that will have such an impact."

-30-

KH

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.