Campbell sets off football stadium ‘Explosion’

Three… Two… One… With a short countdown and the push of a plunger, Campbell University officially re-launched its football program in true “explosion” style.An estimated two thousand students, alumni, staff, trustees, advisors and members of the community turned out for the Campbell University Football Groundbreaking Explosion on Thursday, March 15, 2007 at the future stadium site on Highway 421. The program included performances by the University pep band and cheerleading squad, appearances by new and former members of the Fighting Camels football team and a thrilling fireworks display.Campbell first fielded a varsity football team from 1925 to 1950. Fighting Camel fans have eagerly anticipated the return of the football program since its announcement in April 2006. Campbell will compete on the NCAA Division I-AA (non-scholarship) level and will compete against other similar non-scholarship programs on the Division I and non-I levels.”On February 28, 2007, the Executive Committee of Campbell University’s Board of Trustees, in anticipation of football competition beginning in August 2008, affirmed the architectural plans and authorized commencing construction of the Campbell University Football Stadium Complex,” announced Harold B. Wells, chairman, Board of Trustees. The stadium is to be built on Hwy. 421. Construction will begin shortly to prepare for the Fighting Camels’ first home game set for Aug. 30, 2008 against Birmingham Southern University.According to Wells, the stadium complex will be completed in stages. “The first stage of construction, which is to begin immediately, will include the field, the field house, the main entrance, the bowl, seating for 1,200 and necessary road realignment. Second and third stages will include additional seating, press box, a second entrance, other amenities and, eventually, lights,” he said. Phase one is to be completed by August 2008.For many students, a new athletic program means new opportunities in Buies Creek.”It’s really exciting,” said freshman Scott Thomas. “Football is a great sport. I went to a small private high school and we didn’t have it. I’m so excited it’s coming here.”Though the first game won’t be held for nearly a year and a half, Head Coach Dale Steele has already been coaching and training approximately twenty young men to build his team. Those charter team members understand how special Campbell’s football program could be for the community.”I think this is a chance to be a leader and a chance to make history here in Buies Creek and Campbell University,” said junior offensive lineman Jason Niell. “I think this program is going to make it more of a hometown atmosphere. People will want to stick around. People will want to relocate here.””I’m just glad it’s coming. I think it’ll build the campus and build the University,” said Coats resident David Langdon.In his remarks, Coach Steele also expressed how important participation of the student body and Harnett County community will be to the success of the program. He challenged each person in attendance to be in the stands for the first home game.”You are as much a part of the team as the young people who take the field. We want you there on August 30,” said Steele.

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