The Booneville Bearcat Football Foundation is all about football, right?
Yes. And no.
It’s about survival. It’s about paying it forward. It’s about the entire athletic program.
"We started (the foundation) because at some point in the future it may be necessary to raise funds just to be able to have a football program. We were trying to be proactive," Bearcat head coach Scott Hyatt said last week.
Obviously that means fundraising. Like the stadium sign program and the second annual golf tournament the group held July 20. Both of which require a lot of work.
"We’ve got an account set up," said Hyatt. "They use it to buy things that we wouldn’t normally get."
For instance the foundation purchased a sound system for the weight room, a cooling fan as mandated by the state for use during the hot August practice time, a new video camera system, help with team outings, even seventh grade football uniforms.
Even the football specific items purchased by the foundation has a trickle benefit for the entire program.
"When the football foundation purchases something like (uniforms) that money doesn’t come out of our athletic fund," said Hyatt, whose duties also include those of assistant athletic director. "So that leaves more money for the other programs."
Additionally, things like the sound system and a Game Ready cold compression equipment for sprains are used by coaches and players of sports throughout the program, Hyatt said.
Football is, however, a focus, because of the expenses it generates. For instance, Hyatt said, to outfit a single player in game and practice gear, the cost is about $800.
The payment movement is taking time, but since most foundation members and supporters are former Bearcat football players, the chances of it being successful have to be high.
"Another reason we started it was to try to get some of the guys who have been in this football program to take an interest in some of these kids, and we’re still working on this part, to have kind of a mentoring program," said Hyatt. "To just check on them to see how things are going, how their school work is and grades. Just a positive influence in some of these kids’ lives."
The foundation also works closely with the Friends of the Bearcats, which are basically the parents of football players, Hyatt said.
The group arranges meals after the games on Friday — selling T-shirts to help with funding — they create scrapbooks for seniors handed out at a banquet they organize each year.
Hyatt said the help — all volunteer — cannot be overstated.
"It’s greatly appreciated," he said of the foundation. "It’s not just our football program, but it really helps out our entire athletic program."
"It’s great that we have parents that support these kids like they do. A lot of that stuff we couldn’t do," he added of the Friends.