CHADRON, Nebraska — April 23, 2020 — A group of alumni, fans, and supporters of Chadron State College football raised more than $12,000 over the span of less than two weeks, in support of the program, in an All-Time Team Tournament campaign led by Head Football Coach Jay Long. When the campaign ended on Thursday, the exact total had reached $12,247.11, according to the fundraiser page at chadroneagles.com.
“Eagle Nation showed us amazing support,” said Long. “I’d like to personally thank each and every person who participated, no matter what amount he or she gave. I also had a great time hearing all of the stories former players shared from their playing days.”
The fundraiser centered around the idea of an imaginary football playoff featuring 32 of the greatest CSC football teams throughout history. Teams were seeded by the number of overall wins they attained during their seasons, with ties going to teams with the fewest losses and then in chronological order. All teams with postseason bids, conference championships, and at least eight wins were included. The seasons represented ranged across 91 years, from 1923 to 2014.
The playoff “games” were decided using online polls at the Chadron State athletics website, which were coupled with a web-based donation form set up by the Chadron State Foundation.
By a fairly wide margin, fans decided that the 2008 Eagles were the greatest Chadron State football team of all time. That team, which featured senior quarterback Joe McLain under center, went 11-2, defeating in-state rival Wayne State College 23-17 in a home NCAA playoff game. The 2008 team had been the third-seeded team in the tournament.
The tournament page was viewed nearly 22,000 times by 5,000 unique visitors. The winning team received nearly 3,000 votes in the fourth round of voting, and it received 1,555 in the tournament championship.
In addition to naming a tournament winner, Coach Long extended an invitation to the Lewellen Family Hospitality Room, on October 3, for the team which raised the most funds. The 2001 team, which was the runner-up in the tournament, came out on top in the fundraising race, with $1,761 to its name. The 2006 and 2008 teams were close behind with over $1,000 each.
When the idea for the tournament was hatched, more than two weeks ago, Coach Long asked supporters to raise $4,000 in an effort to purchase software that would allow coaches to instruct players from a distance, since spring practice had been cancelled. When that total was reached, within around four and a half days, an anonymous donor matched the funds already raised, to that point, and a new goal of $10,000 was set. By last Wednesday, the total surpassed $12,000.
Coach Long added that the link to donate will remain up, in case anyone missed it, for additional donations.