Bobcat Club 23-24

266
Donors
48% of 550 Donor goal
$106,277
Donated
90Days
Remaining
This campaign ends on May 31 at 11:59PM EDT
Matches iconMatches

Matches are a great way to show your support. Be the first!

Offer a Matching Gift
Challenges iconChallenges

Challenges are a great way to show your support. Be the first!

Offer a Challenge
About

The Bobcat Club consists of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, coaches, and friends dedicated to the advancement of Bobcat Athletics. With your support, the Bobcat Club provides private financial assistance for Lees-McRae College Athletics through academic and athletic opportunities for our student-athletes. Gifts to the Bobcat Club also help fund athletic facility improvements and other capital needs for the athletic department. 

Membership in the Bobcat Club exemplifies your commitment to Lees-McRae and to the student-athletes who strive to compete at the highest level possible.



NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) | Twitter        FMU, UNCP embrace core values of Conference Carolinas | Fmn ...                   Cycling News and Clubs | Bike Races | USA Cycling | USA Cycling

Updates
Week of Firsts

 

Dear Bobcat Nation – 

This week was filled with a lot of firsts. 

And some great reminders of our WHY. 

Our men’s lacrosse team is off to a 2–0 start this season with Coach Josh Shingleton leading the Bobcats to two outstanding wins. This is the first time the Bobcats have started off 2–0 and their second two-game winning streak since 2017. 

We saw our softball team get their first win of the season, giving new Head Coach Josh Bumgarner his first Bobcat victory. 

In his return to lead our tennis program, Coach Randy Bloemendaal’s men’s and women’s tennis programs have also picked up their first wins of the season. 

The track and field program are in Winston-Salem for the Conference Carolinas Indoor Track and Field Championships. They broke some school records last night and have more opportunities for success today. 

This past Saturday was our senior day for men’s and women’s basketball and cheerleading. There was no parking available anywhere near the Williams Physical Education Center and hardly any seats inside. 

Watching the parents of our seniors show joy in their son or daughter and the completion of their athletic journey is always special. 

It is a gentle reminder of the growth of a young person through intercollegiate athletics and how much they impact all of us!

Best,

Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

 

11 days ago by Craig McPhail
100 Days to Graduation

Dear Bobcat Nation – 

Can you believe we are less than 100 days away from Commencement and we have not started softball, tennis, outdoor track, or lacrosse? 

Our Office of Institutional Advancement held a 100 Days Until Graduation event Friday in Evans Auditorium to officially kick off the countdown. As I saw the students ordering their cap and gown, taking professional headshots, and practicing interview skills with members of our Alumni Association, I reflected on their journey, their commitment, and most importantly their growth. 

They are our campus leaders, captains of our teams, and some of our best ambassadors in the Athletic Department. 

They may have chosen Lees-McRae for the location, academic program, coach, or opportunity to continue playing their sport while getting an education at such a distinctive college. What they did with their time here mattered. They lived and breathed Lees-McRae College! 

As they met with alumni throughout the day, I’m certain stories were shared about times past and present. These stories are what build the unique bond of memories here. The intersection of connections will only continue to grow from this point as they become part of a special group: Lees-McRae graduates. 

While this was going on, I met with several families and young people who are recruits looking for Lees-McRae College to be their home for the next four years. It is a very fascinating cycle I have been part of over the years. 

In the next 100 days, we will get to see Timon Jones, Sidney Dollar, Hannah Foster, Shannon Korovich, and many others wear our jersey a few more times before we have to say, “See you again soon.” 

Enjoy the ride!

Best,

Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

32 days ago by Craig McPhail
Heroes Among Us

Dear Bobcat Nation –

There are heroes among us!

Our people behind the scenes do so much for our young people.

Here are three recent stories to share with you the type of character we have in our athletic department.

The other night, in a snowstorm, our swim coach, Harrison Hartman, a paramedic received a call from 911 dispatch about a woman needing help near where he lived. After getting details and negotiating the snow-covered roads, Coach Hartman went to deliver a baby! How incredible of an experience this must have been, not to mention stressful. About 90 minutes after delivery, the ambulance arrived to take the healthy child, mom and dad to the hospital.

Speaking of snowstorms, the one we received on Friday was epic. Beautiful to see, but difficult to manage with our previous snow. Our men’s volleyball and track and field teams left early in the morning to avoid any weather, while men’s and women’s basketball were leaving around 2 p.m. All forecasts had this to be something minor, little did we realize we would be in a snow globe most of the day.

Our bus driver, Dean Franklin, came over around lunchtime to see how Banner Elk was and determine if it was possible to head east. It was not promising, but we would talk again around 2 p.m. to see. As he made his way back home to Linville Falls, I was hoping for some DOT miracles.

Thankfully, it did calm down and he felt he could get the bus to the gym for a 4 p.m. departure, just one large request was needed…the parking lot needed to be cleared.

And here comes the third group of hero’s, our facilities staff, led by Greg Heaton, Phillip Carver and Chris Hughes. They brought trucks, plows, and the front-end loader to help get the lot cleared for our student-athletes to park and the bus to come through.

It all paid off as our men’s basketball team stopped UNC-Pembroke’s 11-game winning streak for one of the largest regular season wins in program history.

I am grateful for these people, their efforts to make Lees-McRae College better and the dedication they have to everyone. If you get a chance to see them, tell them thank you!

Best

Craig

  

39 days ago by Craig McPhail
Christmas Wish List

 

Dear Bobcat Nation – 

Each year we have written down our wish list to share with all to help make Lees-McRae College and the athletic department better. 

Over the years, we have been blessed by many. As you read this and feel moved to help, know the impact you are making on so many young people. 

We all get better! We are incredibly thankful for these gifts.

  • Host the Bobcats: When your Bobcats are in your town, could you host them for a meal, snacks, or visit? Share with them how this place impacted you.
  • Visit: On a visit back to Banner Elk, look at how much Lees-McRae College has grown with the addition of South Campus, the renovation of the Historic Commons, the new turf field, and many other great things that have occurred since you’ve been gone. Share with friends to also come back and give back!
  • Team/Office Renovations: Remember the office meetings or times in a locker room? There were great moments/memories in them, let’s look to upgrade them. Our coaches can guide you.
  • Recruiting: Have you told your friends about what we offer, how it helped shape you, and for them to check us out? Let’s identify others who can attend Lees-McRae College.
  • Branding: Does everyone know of your love for Lees-McRae College? Let’s get you in some gear or place a sticker on your vehicle to show the magnetic appeal this place has.
  • Spheres of Influence: Shout from the mountaintops of the great things happening in Banner Elk with your Bobcats! National success of our ski and snowboard and cycling teams, and our club sport program offerings of rock climbing, Esports, and dance give everyone a chance to continue their athletic careers.
  • Gift in Kind: Do you have a skill/craft to help us? Can you provide time and talents to make us better? Consider the impact you can have on the student-athlete experience.
  • Internships/Jobs: Have you interviewed a Lees-McRae College student? Let’s work to get some of them in front of you as we all benefit from this.
  • Partnerships/Sponsorships: Where can we collaborate? Imagine the difference we can make.
  • Gift of Treasures: Did you know you can donate retirement and pension plans, IRA charitable rollover, bequests, life insurance, and charitable trusts to make an incredible impact on so many! Make a gift >>

 

 

Your support is greatly appreciated as we find ways to enhance the student-athlete experience with these gifts. 

I’m grateful for what you do for us. My wish for all this holiday season is good health, peace, and many wonderful memories. 

 Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 Best,

Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

 

75 days ago by Craig McPhail
Alumni Return to Campus

Dear Bobcat Nation –

We received our first bit of snowfall a couple of weeks ago and more so on the tops of the mountains than on campus. It’s a great reminder during this time of year how unique Lees-McRae College is. The wind was howling, with the gray overcast skies along with temperatures reminding us we can be in a true winter wonderland.

 I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. In looking at some photos of alumni, I saw several who came to Banner Elk to spend time. They ventured over to Tate Field, the footbridge on campus showcasing the waterfall and into town to reminisce on good times. I would suspect they may have gotten their Christmas tree while on the visit!

On Thanksgiving Day, I ran with Jordan Gillespie a 2011 graduate. We went through town, campus and over by the Fred I. Dickerson Athletic Complex. Our discussions took us from his time here, the summer job at Artisanal, the work he did in admissions when he graduated and how life as a dad and husband is treating him.

His story is so good as he fully took advantage of what Banner Elk and Lees-McRae College had to offer him as he built connections along the way. There are two other Lees-McRae College graduates who work with Jordan in his insurance company down in South Florida.

 The excitement he has about Lees-McRae College is unbounding. He had taken a tour of the historic commons renovations and walked the South Campus to fully see its potential. Coming from a small town in Virginia, Lees-McRae College was the right place for him and clearly the place where his potential truly blossomed. He and his family have a house in town,

giving them greater opportunities to spend time in what we all know as a magnetic place.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to see lives impacted so definitively by this place. It’s magical!

Wishing you all a great week. We have some basketball action here on campus, so stop by and see the excitement.

 

Best

Craig

Vice President of Athletics & Club Sports  

86 days ago by Craig McPhail
Thanksgiving

Dear Bobcat Nation – As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to share with you my annual gratitude list so you can see all of the moving parts required to make a successful intercollegiate athletics program. 

We have been blessed by interactions and support from many to make Lees-McRae athletics a vital asset to the college and Banner Elk.

My thankfulness extends in various directions. Enjoy!

  • An encouraging email from a faculty member to our women’s volleyball coach wishing them the best as they headed to their conference tournament.
  • Late season coaching hires with far-ranging impacts. Swimmers posting lifetime bests, women’s volleyball winning again, women’s lacrosse, softball, and tennis contributing on and off campus. 
  • Community support, including a filled Williams Gymnasium for our first home men’s basketball game Saturday. Their enthusiasm helped push our guys to victory, and the post-game hugs of the Bobcat Club members is a neat touch!
  • Game Day atmosphere—from a filled Bobcat Bank to a loud gym, we have added cheer and dance to the mix to bring a level of excitement when you come to games. 
  • Community service—our young people are among the leaders in community service hours in Conference Carolinas. Partnerships with the YMCA, Banner Elk Elementary School, and other key interactions have made incredible first impressions on many.
  • Classroom success—22 consecutive semesters over a 3.0 grade point average is a result of great understanding from our faculty and coaching staff. Seeing key academic leaders at our basketball game Saturday highlights this.
  • Our bus drivers—their dedication to drive our teams as well as encourage them is truly spectacular. Their recognition of guiding us makes away games much easier. 
  • Bobcat Club members—we have 157 and need to get to 550; help spread the word about how the investment in the lives of our young people can make a difference.
  • Speaking of making a difference, our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee made 54 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child Thursday night. Giving of oneself for a greater cause is what it is all about!
  • Our coaches and staff—the popcorn doesn’t get made and many other things don’t go as planned without Rita Smith. Jeffrey, Blake, Cam, and Matt, along with our Athletic Training staff, spend countless hours making sure we give you, our best! Seeing our personal interactions with students is what builds a unique bond for us. Watching our coaches give of their time to make the experience positive is critical.
  • Facility services and housekeeping—these people make sure we look good and have what we need when we host events. They keep us clean for visitors to see the pride we have in ourselves!
  • Partnerships, collaborations, sponsorships—we could not do it without the help from others. Bringing attention to and working with them makes this journey worth it.
  • Campus commitment—from the turf field to the gym floor and now the renovations of our tennis courts, we are seeing the enhancements to make us grow. The investment in South Campus gives all of us great hope for Lees-McRae College.

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, shared with deep gratitude for the blessings we have been given along with the appreciation for the roles we play.  

 Here’s to good food and fellowship! 

 Best,

Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

102 days ago by Craig McPhail
Impactful Week

Dear Bobcat Nation –

Every week is filled with excitement. This past week was no exception. 

And along with all the excitement comes the gratification of knowing we are making a difference!


We hosted Mountain Madness on Monday night to show our students and community what to expect from our basketball teams. It was a fun-filled evening for everyone.


There was a triple-header of games on Tuesday, as we hosted Conference Carolinas rival and Blue Ridge Cup opponent King University in soccer, while women’s volleyball played a non-conference game. Both soccer teams got us wins along with critical BRC points! We also tailgated a bit different with a campfire and s’mores!


Wednesday was Mountain Day of Service and our students participated in service projects in the community. I took a group to Dobbins Road here in town to clean it for Western Youth Network. That evening, Erel Bardah, a freshman on our men’s volleyball team, spoke about what is happening in his home country of Israel.


Thursday and Friday our teams practiced and prepped for the Woolly Worm Festival. Both soccer teams and cross-country teams were on the road, while at home other teams manned parking lots on campus to help raise money for their programs.


Saturday’s Conference Carolinas Cross Country Championships were held in Charlotte, North Carolina at McAlpine Park. It was a beautiful day for cross country with our Bobcats performing well. We had three individuals from each team make All-Conference. The men finished third overall and the women finished fourth. It was great to see their hard work result in successful accomplishments.


The impact we make on so many is clear to me. I’m grateful for this opportunity to share with you all of what is happening in our athletics department.

Best,

Craig McPhail
Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

130 days ago by Craig McPhail
Family

Dear Bobcat Nation –

Family is everything.

 

We talk about it often in our athletic department. It is something we emphasize and try to emulate.

 

I witness it daily. Our coaches going to grab something to eat in The Summit together. Playing Noon Ball together on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A text thread of encouragement on wins and silver linings, makes us all feel proud.

 

The support we all share for each other comes from understanding how impactful the role we play on our young people has on them.

 

So, I share this moment with you. There’s a bench outside of the gym where I often sit to have meetings. It overlooks the athletic fields and mountain ranges, and even catches a fraction of Grandfather Mountain and a full view of Hanging Rock. This past week, the leaves on one side of the fields were as vibrant as I have ever seen them.

 

As I sat in the warm sun, gazing out into the distance thinking about the day, sporting events, Open House, and other things I needed my attention to be focused on, I saw a man walking on the field. He would walk a few steps, stop, look around, and keep going. I could tell it was something important as he continued to walk further onto the fields. His body language made me think this was a spiritual walk.

 

In walking back to his car in the front of the Williams Physical Education Center parking lot, I approached him. It was James Boyd who played football here in the late 80’s. His wife has been battling breast cancer and he needs a heart transplant. They came up to visit a place that had such a profound impact on him.

 

While talking, Rita Smith pulled up and the emotional hug/welcome they shared is why we do this! Seeing them reunite, catch up, and share stories further shows the family atmosphere we continue to exude.

 

If you have been a part of it, you know it. Try it and see for yourself how special this place is.

 

It will change your life! 

 

Best,

Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

137 days ago by Craig McPhail
Homecoming

Dear Bobcat Nation –

Wow!

This is what happens when so many of you return back to Lees-McRae College to celebrate this special place. Homecoming 2023 was epic.

This weekend was a beautiful intersection of weather, leaves, sports, bands, and reunions. It was so good to see you!

There was a packed Williams Gymnasium for two days of volleyball and Bobcat Bank was packed with the perfect mixture of tents, food, and people for soccer Saturday. I taste tested about every tent, having some Low Country boil, Bojangles, and jambalaya, all capped off with a snow cone from the Flave and Shave Truck!

We had alumni games for women’s soccer and both basketball programs, while many others came back to check out the new construction on campus, see the newly acquired South Campus, and reminisce over the times spent in Banner Elk.

I am reminded often of the magnetic appeal this place has to so many. The nostalgia is amazing. Saturday morning before the full slate of activities, I met with an alum who had graduated over a decade ago. He lives in downtown Los Angeles and this was his first time back to campus. He was beaming as he spoke about what he does now and how we played a role in his success.

There are many of those stories. We can all share them as the bond Lees-McRae College has is unbreakable. Feel free to share your story as we build this place into something we all have immense pride in.

It was good to see you and please know you are all welcomed back anytime!

Thank you,

Craig McPhail
Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

150 days ago by Craig McPhail
Change is Good!

Dear Bobcat Nation –

Change is good.    

It produces all sorts of emotions. Our reaction and acceptance of those changes makes us who we are.    

This summer, I witnessed change. Coaches moved on to other opportunities, which in turn created opportunities for us as well. Staffing changes allow us to evaluate what is needed and wanted, and how to best serve our student-athletes (the customers/consumers).    

The process is never the same; however, the way we go about it does give us a chance to display who we are, what we are looking for, and who best fits our needs. Typically, I have a checklist for each hire. Each one has a distinct set

of boxes I want to find in our next leader for the sport in question.   

We preach family. We share the fact we play basketball as a staff every Tuesday and Thursday, eat lunch often together in our dining hall, and celebrate birthdays, wins, etc. on a head coach text thread that brings us all closer together.    

This past week as I watched the changes on display, I felt good emotions knowing we selected the right coaches for our young people and their adventure here at Lees-McRae College.   

In my position, I’m able to see the impact being made daily with the direct communication our coaches have in preparing the student-athletes for each day’s practice, competition, and often life.    These two photos are examples of what I mean: a crowded gym with our cheer team leading the Lees-McRazies during our home opener for women’s volleyball and all eyes on our new tennis coach as he goes over a drill and the reason for doing it.    

 There are wonderful things happening here. Let’s make a difference, together. Thank you,

Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

164 days ago by Craig McPhail
Josh Foley | Lees-McRae Cyclist

Watch as Josh Foley, a senior on the cycling team, shares how the Bobcat Club has contributed to his experience at Lees-McRae.

170 days ago by Craig McPhail
Welcome Back!

 

Dear Bobcat Nation – Can you believe we’re starting week three of classes? I can’t! 

Real games begin this week! A great fall preseason with a good rhythm to classes has everyone in a good groove. 

All of our other sports teams have started practice, giving the Fred I. Dickerson Athletic Complex a lot of action recently. This summer flew by as it seems to always do for me. 

We accomplished a lot during this time and we hope you recognize the improvements made when you visit. We have painted the press box and fencing and stained picnic benches at the tennis pavilion. 

There are new floor mats and decals featuring the branding partnership between our athletic department and Nike. We have added new faces with new head coaches in women’s volleyball, softball, women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis, and swimming. 

The hiring process helped us identify those who want to guide our young people using our vision for intercollegiate athletics as an instrument of growth. I’m excited to work with our coaches to build on our goals to use sportsmanship as a tool to further build character. 

When you are back on campus, or watching a game from our web-stream, take a look at how we continue to elevate the experience and, most importantly, the impact your gifts have made on us. 

Thank you! Best, 

Craig

 

186 days ago by Craig McPhail

Lees-McRae Athletics
TeamsDonorsRaised ($)
Soccer (Women's)13$2,480
Bobcat Club64$45,776
Softball6$3,000
Soccer (Men's)14$3,400
Cheerleading2$200
Track & Field (Men's)1$100
Volleyball (Women's)4$1,375
Lacrosse (Women's)1$5
Swimming (Men's)6$5,350
Tennis (Men's)10$11,800
Ski & Snowboarding11$8,914
Lacrosse (Men's)3$1,760
Basketball (Men's)7$8,100
Dance Team2$5,000
Cross Country (Women's)2$350
Cycling8$1,340
Cross Country (Men's)0$0
Track & Field (Women's)0$0
Climbing0$0
Basketball (Women's)0$0
Swimming (Women's)5$1,305
Volleyball (Men's)2$1,300
ESports0$0
Tennis (Women's)1$1,500
Donor Affiliations
Gradhat icon5%Alumni
Parent icon10%Parents
Suitcase icon3%Faculty/Staff
Friends icon8%Friends
Most Recent Donors
Stuart C Davis photo
Stuart C Davis
Kirk and Marlo Kirssin photo
Kirk and Marlo Kirssin
Sharon Presson photo
Sharon Presson
Marcene L. Maas photo
Marcene L. Maas
Marcene L. Maas photo
Marcene L. Maas
Kim and Bob Simmons photo
Kim and Bob Simmons
Nichole Lyons photo
Nichole Lyons
Elton Allen photo
Elton Allen
Darin and Kathy Spease photo
Darin and Kathy Spease
Bryan and Heather Massingale photo
Bryan and Heather Massingale
View All Donors

Advocates

Community Advocates photo
generated 25 clicks
Addyson Morgan photo
generated 8 clicks
nicole photo
generated 5 clicks
Breanna photo
generated 1 click
Art & Carol Beckmann photo
generated 1 click

Become an Advocate and be recognized for your impact!


Share with your Network

Share the campaign to track the number of clicks, gifts and dollars you generate (Note: If you share without signing up or logging in, your impact will be counted as Community Advocate)

Inspire your Friends & Peers

Encourage others to give with a Matching Gift or Challenge.

Tell your Story

Create a Personal Plea video encouraging others to join you in supporting the campaign.