A day that had been long awaited finally arrived at North Greenville College to the tears of some and the shouts of all. Shovels were placed in the ground and soil was moved to signify the beginning of construction on the college’s $10 million athletic complex. The first phase, which includes a football stadium and a soccer stadium, will be completed in time for the 2004 football and soccer season.
Hundreds of student-athletes lined a walkway and greeted guests, whild the school’s marching band and other students marched across Highway 414 from the main campus to the site of the complex.
The Crusader Marching Band began the ceremony by introducing the new Crusader fight song. After the welcoming remarks, by NGC president Dr. James B. Epting, the school’s maintenance department provided music.
Chairman of the North Greenville College Board of Trustees Dr. Arnold Emery introduced Dr. B. Carlisle Driggers, Executive Director-Treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. In his introduction, Emery told of a time in 1992 when the school was near closing and many in the SCBC were discussing the possibility of shutting down the college. “Dr. Driggers encouraged the Executive Committee (of the SCBC) to wait and pray, believing that God would bless the college,” said Emery. “Ultimately, that is what happened.” This brought tears to many in attendance, especially those who remembered the bleak times at NGC and who have dreamed of and heard about a future athletic complex. For them the future is now and they cried tears of rejoicing.
Driggers and others spoke on the theme of the event; “Rise Up and Build” – Nehemiah 2:18. “The Jewish people had a vision during that day to see the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt,” said Driggers. “Today, Dr. Epting and those at this college have a vision to see this athletic complex become a reality.”
Many mentioned the need for instilling morals and godly character in students, as Dr. David Smith, pastor of Enoree Baptist Church, said, “Among the students here will be doctors, lawyers, educators, entrepreneurs, pastors, and missionaries, all who will go out as crusaders for the cause of Christ.”
A season of prayer took place in which faculty, staff, students, and area pastors prayed for the athletic complex and the impact it will have on the college, the students, and the community. Representatives from the Development and Athletic Department shared comments. Many of the people who are part of making the athletic complex possible were recognized including Dr. Melvin and Dollie Younts, the namesake of the stadium, Tony and Margaret Fogle, the namesake of the field and Dr. Hewlett and Lucile Sullivan, namesake of the president’s box. The Younts, Fogles, Sullivans, and other officials then picked up a shovel and a hard hat and officially began a new era in Crusader Athletics.
The Executive Director for the Athletic Foundation Dr. William Mitchell expressed his excitement over the event and the future of athletics at North Greenville. “It is great to see positive results from all of the hard work and preparation that went into this day,” he said. “We look to see the hard work and preparation continue to pay off for the future.”
Dr. Epting summed up the event this way; “It is a thrill to experience God working in a marvelous way. We are an educational institution, working with the mind, but we also deal with the heart. Now looking at these new athletic facilities makes it evident that we are also dealing with the physical. When you put the mind, heart, physical together and integrate it with Jesus Christ, as the spiritual element, then and only then, can a person be totally developed. That is why it is a thrill to see these new facilities which enhance the total growth of individuals at NGC.”
Photo: From left: Dr. Bill Mitchell, Jacks Tingle, Bill Lindsey, Dr. Carlise Driggers, Lucile Sullivan, Dr. Hewlett Sullivan, Dr. Melvin Younts, Dollie Youngs, Tony Fogle, Margaret Fogle, Dr. Arnold Emery, and Dr. James B. Epting.
Article published in the Spring 2004 issue of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter