Kearney, Neb. – The Loper Football Backers Banquet continues to climb. At the eighth annual marquee fundraiser for the University of Nebraska at Kearney football program on April 22nd, alumni, sponsors and donors gave $243,000 for student-athlete scholarships. More than 500 people attended the banquet at the Younes Conference Center. “I continue to be overwhelmed by the support for Loper football by our community members and the friends and alumni of this program,” said head coach Josh Lynn, who was named to his position in January. “Being a former Division II football player myself, I recognize the importance a scholarship has at our level, and I’m so appreciative of the generosity everyone displayed.”
Since the fundraiser’s inception in 2010, more than $1.25 million have been raised for football scholarships. Last year, this event generated $228,000, including $101,000 in individual donations during the “Scholarship Ask.” Attendees at the event had the opportunity to bid on more than 100 auction items and donate to the “Scholarship Ask,” which was commemorated in honor of the late Bob Sahling, a generous and loyal UNK fan and supporter. The “Scholarship Ask” generated more than $105,000, including multiple donations of $10,000 and above. Some of the more popular live auction items were a trip to Monte Carlo, which went for $4,250, a bronze “Flatlander” sculpture by former Loper football player and renowned artist Mark Lundeen that garnered $3,750 and an autographed New England Patriots Super Bowl LI helmet that went for $2,100. A 1.02 carat diamond donated by Hoover’s Jewelers was raffled off and generated an additional $20,000 for scholarships. “The annual Loper Football Backers Banquet is an important event for many in our community,” said Brad Kernick, chair of the Loper Football Backers Committee. “It boosts the emotional and financial support of our football team and helps us raise the scholarships needed to compete in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.” ”
This fall, Coach Lynn and his staff will have approximately 32 scholarships to field their team,” added UNK Director of Athletics Paul Plinske. “This is another positive step as we continue our ongoing commitment to winning games in the MIAA.” Earlier in the day, UNK held it’s spring game in front of approximately 1,500 fans at Ron & Carol Cope Stadium. The Lopers open up the 2017 season on Thursday, August 31st, at 7:00 p.m. at home against Missouri Western State. Fall camp is set to begin in early August.