On October 5, 2013 alumni and current players from the Francis Marion baseball team will gather at the Country Club of South Carolina to kick-off the annual alumni weekend festivities with a golf outing. Following a round of golf, there will be a family gathering with the players and alumni at Sparrow Stadium in the President’s Suite. At noon, on October 6th, the baseball game will be held.
Celebrating its 12th year, the weekend brings back an estimated 50-60 alumnus a year according to Art Inabinet, men’s baseball Head Coach. The weekend gives alumni players the chance to come back and visit with one another and ultimately leads to fellowship on the field.
This year will be the first year that the game is alumni versus alumni rather than the usual alumni versus current team players.
“The alumni who have shown up for previous games have expressed an interest in this idea. This will be the trial run [to see if it stays this way in the future],” Inabinet said.
Travis Copeland, a 1995 Francis Marion graduate, has been present at every alumni game and is in charge of setting up the event, raising awareness about the game and even recruiting alumni to coming back to Florence for the weekend in order to participate. For Copeland, the thrill comes from being able to get everyone together in order to catch up on where they are now in life as well as being able to raise funds for the team they had once played on.
“One of my favorite things is being able to see how far the athletic department has come over the years, sharing that knowledge with other alumni, and let everyone know that we can always keep improving with their support,” Copeland said.
Recent alumni are able to participate in the game as well. Brock McCallister, a 2013 graduate is already a returning member as part of the alumni team. McCallister’s eligibility to play while in school ended after the 2012 season which led to his participation in last year’s alumni game.
“I like playing in the alumni game because I get to catch up with the guys I played with at Francis Marion as well as meet some of the players that were here before me,” McCallister said.
Whether a recent graduate or a player who has been away from Francis Marion for a while, the alumni game is a way for everyone to gather, have fun but most of all to be united in raising money the FMU athletic program; Funds raised from the weekend will benefit the current team to help purchase it is for supplies and make other improvements.
The alumni game is an event that will be open to the public and admission to the game is free. The game will be at Sparrow Field, inside of the new athletic complex. Francis Marion students are encouraged to come out and enjoy the game while supporting the former players as well as the athletic department.