Bobcat Club 23-24

30% of 550 Donor goal
This campaign ends on May 31 at 11:59PM EDT
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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.

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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! 


Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

11 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.


Craig McPhail
Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

39 days ago by Craig McPhail

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! 



Craig McPhail Vice President for Athletics and Club Sports

46 days ago by Craig McPhail

Dear Bobcat Nation –


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

59 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

73 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.

79 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, 



95 days ago by Craig McPhail

Lees-McRae Athletics
TeamsDonorsRaised ($)
Soccer (Women's)9$1,950
Bobcat Club50$30,069
Basketball (Men's)6$7,850
Soccer (Men's)12$2,825
Track & Field (Men's)1$100
Cross Country (Women's)1$100
Dance Team2$5,000
Swimming (Men's)6$5,350
Cross Country (Men's)0$0
Track & Field (Women's)0$0
Volleyball (Women's)3$1,125
Basketball (Women's)0$0
Swimming (Women's)4$1,000
Volleyball (Men's)2$1,300
Lacrosse (Men's)1$1,500
Lacrosse (Women's)0$0
Tennis (Men's)9$11,750
Ski & Snowboarding3$600
Tennis (Women's)0$0
Donor Affiliations
Gradhat icon6%Alumni
Parent icon11%Parents
Suitcase icon3%Faculty/Staff
Friends icon10%Friends
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