Dear Fellow Stags Fan,
Fairfield Basketball history can be compared to a roller coaster—sometimes up, sometimes down, but always worth the ride. Some of you have actually had the chance to play for the Stags; some, like me, have watched from the stands—but all of us, one way or the other, have rejoiced in the wins, suffered in the losses, and always hoped for more success.
Today’s college athletics world is a collage of interests, sports, academics, and money. Each institution has its own priorities among the three, and each defines success in their own way. But at the end of the day, graduating players with degrees, while still winning a lot of games and a championship or two, is what it’s all about. Fairfield’s graduation rate is superb, and our win-loss record in the last ten years is excellent.
We haven’t won a championship yet in this decade, and that disappoints us all. But the effort to win is there, as are the skills of both our coaching staff and our players—with perhaps the need for just a little help.
As many of you know, our men’s basketball budget includes scholarships, salaries, and almost anything else you can think of to run a good program. Our basketball revenue helps to partially offset these costs, but not to any appreciable degree. Unless and until we can put more “fannies in the seats” or get meaningful television revenue, the University’s budget allocation will remain our only source of funding. The University continues to prioritize basketball, and Fairfield remains among the top MAAC schools with allocated resources to the program. However, moving forward, what can make the difference is YOU!
To remain competitive, and increase our success and visibility, we need to follow the lead of others and generate a meaningful alternative source of funding. All of our athletically successful peer institutions have “booster clubs,” by whatever name they’re called. The Lyons-Lademan Fund was a variation on that theme. But for those of us who love Fairfield basketball, it was not enough.
Fortunately, with the blessing and support of University leadership, as of this month we now officially have an organization, Friends of Fairfield Men’s Basketball, whose sole responsibility is to raise money for program enhancements such as recruiting, upgraded lockers, better travel arrangements, tournament play, etc., and, as we move forward, endowment. All of this can and will make a big difference to our team and our success.
I’m Bob Berchem of the Class of ’62—and I’ve been asked to serve as the president this new organization. Like most of you, I’ve been a Stags fan since I was an undergraduate—and like all of you, I want to help in any way I can to see our team do even better. As a practical matter, the only way you can really help is by writing a tax-deductible check.
Those of us who are willing to put our money where our hearts have been will have a chance to interact more closely with the program (subject, of course, to NCAA rules compliance!). Every dollar will go directly to the program, and be in addition to—not in lieu of—the University’s continued funding commitment. You’ll be thanked in many ways, and you’ll also have a few special events each year—but, more importantly, you’ll be supporting the team you love!
If, like me, you believe that the best in Fairfield basketball is yet to come, I invite you to join me and write a check to Friends of Fairfield Men’s Basketball. Gifts of any size truly matter and participation is of utmost importance. Our goal for the 2014-2015 season is to raise $50,000 and have 250 members. This year’s program enhancement priorities are travel, for overseas and high profile national games, and recruiting.
As friends and alumni, we’ve all helped raise the University’s visibility. In today’s world, athletics—and basketball in particular— is a key vehicle of choice to raise that visibility even higher. I hope you will join me in moving up!!
Bob Berchem ’62
Friends of Fairfield Men’s Basketball
Friends of Fairfield Athletics
To remain competitive in recruiting and maintaining quality experiences for student-athletes at Fairfield University, the Athletics Department and our coaches rely on the financial support of Athletics Friends Groups for continued success.
Friends’ programs and events—such as mentoring, networking nights, and on-the-road gatherings— are invaluable opportunities for the Fairfield
Please support the teams of your choice and be a part of our success!
For more information on how you can support Fairfield Men’s Basketball,
contact Marie Muhvic, Director of Development for Athletics & Recreation at
(203) 254-4000, ext. 2474.