Alumni Step Up to Help Lopers Compete in MIAA|
The Nebraska-Kearney football program announced last night at the 4th Annual Loper Backers Dinner & Scholarship Fundraiser that, thanks to a matching gift from a UNK graduate and support from other generous alumni, the team has $ 220,000 in additional dollars to spend immediately on scholarships.
The program will announce, in the coming days, the proceeds made from the fundraiser.
Brad Kernick, a 1971 UNK graduate and former managing partner of Eakes Office Plus in Kearney, has been instrumental in the development of the Loper Football Backers, the group responsible for the fundraiser and dinner auction.
At the end of the 2012 calendar year, he pledged to donate $ 100,000 to The Loper Fund for UNK Football at the University of Nebraska Foundation if other donors would provide the same amount by April 15th.
Around 70 donors, many of them UNK football alumni who had never financially supported the program before, gave around $ 120,000 in response to the challenge by Kernick.
“Brad’s bold gift and challenge pledge provided unique momentum to the ongoing football fundraising efforts,” said UNK Athletic Director Jon McBride. “Talk about walking the walk; we are grateful for his many efforts in support of Loper Athletics!”
The $ 220,000 is available right now for investment directly into Loper football scholarships. In the coming seasons, the key will be in sustaining this kind of support with future pledges.
“My gift was in response to UNK joining the MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) and being quite deficient in the football scholarship area. The incredible injuries that we experienced last year just reinforced the importance of trying to help get UNK on par with other MIAA schools,” Kernick said. “This should be a nice catalyst to help us achieve that. I’m very grateful to all the people who stepped up to make this happen. We are well on our way to where we need to be.”
Loper head coach Darrell Morris says the additional dollars will help tremendously as UNK embarks on its second season in the MIAA.
“Brad presented us an outstanding opportunity last year and we can’t thank him enough. It was great to see the community and our football alumni step up and meet his challenge head on the Loper way.”
UNK begins fall camp in mid-August with the 2013 opener being on Thursday, September 5th, against Washburn. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m.