August 17th, 2011
The Dominion Post
August 17, 2011
Fans aren’t the only ones counting on the WVU football team to put a lot of points on the scoreboard this season: The University’s libraries are banking on the Mountaineers as well.
Frances O’Brien, dean of the WVU Libraries, and WVU sports marketing director Matt Wells unveiled the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge, a joint initiative between the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the libraries, on Tuesday. The program allows fans to pledge a donation for every touchdown the Mountaineers score this season, with all of the proceeds going directly to WVU’s libraries.
“A great university needs a great library,” O’Brien said. “And it made sense to us that when fans cheer for the Mountaineers and support the team, they could put some of that energy into supporting every school, every academic department, every student, every faculty member and every researcher here on campus.”
O’Brien said she came up with the idea for the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge in June, while reading about WVU athletic director Oliver Luck’s “100 percent Mountaineer” initiative in The Dominion Post.
Luck’s plan challenges every sport in the athletic department to strive for a Top 25 finish and achieve a graduation rate of at least 75 percent.
O’Brien liked the challenge of linking academic and athletic goals and thought the buzz about the football program provided an excellent opportunity for WVU’s libraries to capitalize.
“Mountaineer fans have great spirit,” O’Brien said. “They’re going to be anticipating the success of a new coach and a new offense. There is a lot of excitement for the start of a new football season and I hope they’ll put some of that good energy into investing in the library.”
Funds raised from the Mountaineer Touchdown Challenge will go directly to the library system, but won’t be earmarked for any specific projects. Instead, O’Brien said she hoped to use the money to address the libraries’ ever-changing needs, such as buying books and new computer equipment, or updating the study space.
Wells said tying the fundraiser into the debut of WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen’s new offense was a natural fit. Fans are excited to see Holgorsen’s scheme in action and Wells hopes the libraries can benefit from that enthusiasm.
“We’re very offensive-minded around here right now, and that was a great way to tie into what we have going on with our football program with a university initiative,” Wells said. “That’s what we’re hoping and that’s one of the things that was so attractive to coach Holgorsen. It made a lot of sense to us.”
Pledges will be based on every offensive touchdown the Mountaineers score this season, including in a potential bowl game. Defensive touchdowns will not count toward the total. Holgorsen’s offense scored 62 touchdowns at Oklahoma State last year and averaged 69 touchdowns in his previous two seasons, at Houston. WVU scored 42 offensive touchdowns in 2010.
“I’ve heard him say that he doesn’t take his foot off the pedal; I assume that’s directed to help the library. That’s the only reason I can think of him doing that,” Wells joked.
Info: libraries.wvu.edu or 304-293-0306.