Posted: Sep 19, 2010 7:53 PM by Jeannette Hynes
Updated: Sep 27, 2010 1:58 PM
Colorado College's football program dates back to 1882, with games played on one of the oldest fields west of the Mississippi - Washburn Field. Names like Steve Sabol and Dutch Clark played for the Tigers.
In 2009, the recession took a firm hold on the nation, and CC had to make cuts. Football was eliminated, along with women's water polo and softball.
"We just don't have the ability right now to support a sport of that level of expense," explains Ken Ralph, Colorado College's athletics director.
Enter Carey Chamberlin, Rich McDermott, and several other football alumni all over the country. Rich's son, Matt, was in CC's football program when it was cut.
"My son called me and he was in tears. You know, a tough football player in tears jerks at your heart," remembers McDermott.
"I was very surprised and dismayed. I didn't like it," remarks Chamberlin.
These former football players have started the Washburn Foundation, dedicated to bring back football, and support all intercollegiate athletics at CC.
"A student athlete learns so much more about life, about work, about what it takes to be a teammate, what it takes to be a human being," say McDermott.
Football has turned out to be more than just a sport for these former players.
"It means I was involved in something that was much larger than I and it was a sense of belonging and a sense of accomplishment I could not have done by myself," recalls Chamberlin.
"It was one of the best experiences of my life," says McDermott.
CC's athletic director welcomes their efforts.
"I look at the football alumni and what they're doing, and I'd be disappointed if there were not rallying to save the program," says Ralph.
The Board of Trustees for Colorado College won't revisit reinstating the program until, at the earliest, 2012, a plan put in place when the program was eliminated.
"Eliminating opportunities for students is not why any of us got into this business," says Ralph.
Currently, the Washburn Foundation's goal is to get people to join the cause and become foundation members. They say the fund-raising will follow.
The men and women behind the Washburn Foundation say they hope to give students both academic and athletic opportunities for years to come and to bring back a 127-year-old tradition.