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    November 16, 2020 Lynchburg, Va. RSS |

    Equipping and supporting Liberty University's 40 distinct Club Sports teams, which includes occasional travel and accommodations for approximately 600 student-athletes, requires contributions from throughout Flames Nation and beyond.

    Last year, Liberty Athletics held its inaugural Flames Giving Day in mid-November, a one-day event designed for Liberty's on-campus and online community to support its mission of Training Champions for Christ while providing a high quality student-athlete experience. Giving Day provides an opportunity for every Flames fan to contribute to the academic, spiritual, and athletic success of Liberty's athletic teams.

    On Tuesday, as Liberty rallies its fan base and other partners to donate on Giving Day, Club Sports will take an active role in fundraising to keep its program thriving well into the future.

    "This is the first time as a department we're really pulling together for Giving Day," Liberty Club Sports Recruitment and Varsity Club & Events Coordinator Ben Hughes said. "It has been in planning for a few months now and we are really excited to get our alumni, staff, student-athletes, parents, fans, and friends of the program engaged and participating in giving back, to get people to donate money to really help our efforts."

    He said the department has set a goal of receiving contributions from 500 donors for a total of $100,000, dispersed between the various programs.

    Club Sports Athletic Director Kirk Handy said Flames Associate Athletic Director and Executive Director of Development Mike Hagen and Liberty Vice President of  Development Jim Nichols have played key roles in setting the foundation for giving to the university, with Hughes and Club Sports Director of Recruiting and Special Events Kaycee Tripp helping the department raise awareness for the drive and establish competition within the teams.

    "We are very blessed," Handy said. "This is the first time we have had a collaborative effort as a Club Sports department to raise some money with cooperation from the coaches and student-athletes through social media."

    "Flames Club staff and people in the Development Office have done a phenomenal job coordinating with Club Sports and Athletics departments, as well as deans with other respective schools, trying to get all hands on deck in reaching out to alumni, making calls, and using their networks and influence," Hughes added. "We have our coaches working hard to reach out to their alumni, and also have student-athletes reaching out to friends and family, emailing and texting to try to raise funds." Hughes noted that individual teams will be organizing other grassroots fundraising efforts throughout the school year.

    Club Sports' 40 programs will be competing for $20,000 in challenge grants, to be awarded to the top five teams in number of donations received on Giving Day — with the first-place receiving an additional $7,500, second $5,000, third $4,000, fourth $2,500, and fifth $1,000.

    "Each team has their own goals and we're excited to have this out there and see what we can do," Handy said. "At the end of the day, we are trying to raise money to help teams get to nationals, and to help support future mission trips that we send teams on. We want to make sure that we're thinking about missions and raising money every year."

    Handy, who is in his 21st season as head coach of Liberty's Division I men's hockey team, said one of that team's needs is for a RapidShot shooting area in the new Club Sports Training Complex, located in the former Toys ‘R' Us building.

    Visit Liberty.edu/givingday to designate a gift to a specific Liberty school, or Athletics or Club Sports team, or to the area of greatest need.