BLOOMSBURG – Monday, Feb. 17, Bloomsburg University Athletics held their first “Coaches Caravan” in Philadelphia. The event was hosted by 2007 Bloomsburg alum and Super Bowl Champion, Jahri Evans.
The caravan, organized by Director of Athletics Mike McFarland, was a dinner gathering where the university honored past and recent successes, along with enjoyable networking. Evans was pleased to hold the event at his high-end restaurant, SOMO SoPhi, in South Philly.
The celebration attracted a majority of Bloomsburg’s head coaches as well as an array of alumni across all sports.
McFarland emphasized the honed-in concept about the location, aside from the fact that Evans was a built-in alumnus himself. In a face-to-face interview, he stated, “The idea behind [‘Coaches Carvan’] really started…as a way to get out to visit the alums, verses the alums visiting us….go where they are, meet them.”
After elaborate planning and making sure all alumni were contacted, the two-floor restaurant then occupied about 85 guests, according to McFarland.
Throughout the duration of the night, food and drinks were provided as family, fans, friends and alumni socialized at their own pace. Towards the closure of the program, McFarland and Director of Alumni Engagement, Nate Conroy, took time to briefly thank all those in attendance and shine a positive light on why they were all gathered. Evans voted not to speak amongst his guests, however, he was appreciative of the turnout.
“It was a neat place for it to be…it was definitely a way for us to engage,” said Bloomsburg Athletics Hall of Famer and head football coach, Frank Sheptock. He was humbled to have been a large representative among the first annual occasion.
While the night was about indulging in memories and experiences, a concise moment was made to touch upon a recently pivotal contribution. Steph Pettit ‘89, also a former Husky football player, has donated $10 million to Bloomsburg University. According to the school and Bloomsburg University Foundation, half of the endowment will contribute to athletic scholarships while the second half will meet any future university needs.
Though Steph Pettit was not present at the “Coaches Caravan” last week, he did watch via FaceTime live from Florida, where he now resides and operates his business, Clean Earth Systems, Inc.
“The goal is that every program benefits and every student-athlete has an opportunity to feel that impact,” expressed McFarland when asked about the intentions for Pettit’s offerings.
In regard to future caravans, McFarland was confident to reply that the athletic department has three more in mind; they hope to travel to Wilkes-Barre, Harrisburg, and of course, host in Bloomsburg, where an extensive assortment of alumni are already located.