Tag Archives: Steve Cage

Berry’s first season in Valhalla – the new on-campus stadium for football, lacrosse, and track and field – has been memorable, to say the least, with a perfect 4-0 record at home propelling the Viking football team to first place in the Southern Athletic Association.

The tone was set in the inaugural game against LaGrange College – a 16-13 overtime thriller won by Berry on Mitchell Blanchard’s 38-yard field goal in overtime. That kick capped an impressive comeback by the Vikings, who forced overtime with a dramatic goal-line stand in the final minute of play. Afterward, many in the standing-room only crowd of 4,500 joined players in singing the Alma Mater before fireworks brought a fitting end to the day.

Before kickoff, hundreds gathered for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and the first-ever “Viking Walk” of players through the Valhalla gate. Trustee Steve Cage (74C), whose lead gift through the LifeReady Campaign initiated fundraising for the venue, addressed the crowd.

“The students are the heart of this project,” he said. “Martha Berry provided us all a wonderful educational opportunity. We have great faculty and terrific leadership. Valhalla will give students great experiences, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Since the opener, Berry has defeated Rhodes College, Washington University of St. Louis and Hendrix College on the Williams Field turf. The final home game of the regular season will be played Saturday, Nov. 14, against Centre College. Purchase tickets online at BerryGameDay.com.

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The rhythmic beat of the Viking Drumline provided the perfect soundtrack as students, faculty, staff, board members, project donors and special guests celebrated the Oct. 17 groundbreaking for Valhalla, including Williams Field, Clark Track and Dickey Field.

“What a great day it is for Berry College,” said President Steve Briggs, addressing the large crowd gathered at the construction site just south of the Cage Center. “It’s an important milestone in our ongoing effort to enhance this amazing campus and to create places of opportunity for students, for our friends and for our community. And like the Cage Center behind us, Valhalla will provide a major venue for recreation, excitement, achievement, participation and just plain fun.”

Taking up shovels were Steve Cage (74C), the Berry trustee whose 2012 lead gift initiated fundraising for Valhalla; Bob (62H) and Kay Williams, whose generosity paved the way for the naming of the stadium field; alumni trustees Bert Clark (82C) and Roger Lusby (79C), who led the successful Clark Track Challenge, and Bert’s wife, Cathy; Dr. Ouida Dickey (50C, FFS), who has joined daughters Jennifer (77A, 80C) and Angela (75A, 79C) in making a challenge gift to name the track and field throws area for the late Garland M. Dickey (42C); Steve and Michelle Tart, football parents and project supporters; Randy Berry and Barry Griswell (71C), trustees and LifeReady Campaign co-chairs, and Barry’s wife Michele (70C), all major donors to the project; and Board of Trustees Chair Karen Holley Horrell (74C), another major contributor to the fundraising effort to build the stadium.

Steve CageIn his remarks, Cage (pictured) noted that Valhalla is “a collaboration of hard work, trust and leadership with the Board of Trustees, Dr. Briggs, faculty and staff, students and donors.” He offered special praise to the Berry president, dedicating the new stadium in his honor, and thanked all those who had made gifts to the project. Groundbreaking coverage.

Christened  “a place for us” by SGA President Paton Roden, Valhalla will provide a new home for Berry’s football and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams when completed in 2015. The stadium and adjacent Dickey Field will also make possible the spring 2016 resumption of full competition in men’s and women’s track and field, in addition to hosting intramural competitions and other large outdoor events. Berry’s service entrance will be closed until construction is completed.

Fundraising for Valhalla is now entering its final phase. Gifts to the project can be made online. If you’d like to double your giving power, make your commitment through the Dickey Field Challenge.

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Gift of Home

Bob (62H) and Kay Williams with Berry football coach Tony Kunczewski.

An on-campus stadium for Berry’s football, lacrosse, and track and field programs is one step closer to reality thanks to a $500,000 commitment from Bob (62H) and Kay Williams.

Gifts and pledges toward the facility – named Valhalla by lead donor Steve Cage (74C) – now exceed $3.9 million. Construction will begin when the fundraising goal of $6.5 million is achieved. Bob and Kay hope their gift will encourage other alumni to support the project as well.

“Let’s get behind it,” Bob challenged. “Let’s show the world that we can do with football what we’ve done with everything else.”

This is the latest in a series of generous gifts by the couple. Their recent commitments, which total $1 million with the addition of the Valhalla gift, include funding for Berry’s new baccalaureate nursing program, two Gate of Opportunity Scholarships and an additional need-based scholarship named for their late daughter, Ann.

Though initially critical of Berry’s decision to add football as an intercollegiate sport, Bob is proud that the field on which the team plays will bear his surname. He and Kay became champions of the program due in large part to the leadership they have witnessed from head football coach Tony Kunczewski. The coach, in turn, feels blessed to have the couple on his team.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Bob and Kay,” Kunczewski stated. “They have been such ardent supporters of Berry athletics for years.”

Visit the Valhalla website to learn more about the project and make your own show of support.

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Berry Football ScheduleThe countdown to Berry’s inaugural football game begins in earnest with this week’s arrival of more than 100 student-athletes for preseason practice. As the Vikings prepare for their Sept. 7 season opener, your alumni staff is making plans to help you enjoy the historic game.

An online ordering system has been established for alumni wishing to purchase their general admission tickets in advance of the game, which will be played at Barron Stadium in Rome. The price is $5 per ticket. Purchases may be picked up in the Berry Alumni Center (Aug. 28 to Sept. 6) or at a special alumni will-call on the stadium grounds beginning two hours prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff. Visit our Football FAQ for other game-day details, and don’t forget to join us for the alumni tailgate party beginning at 4 p.m. at Schroeder’s on Broad Street.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The online order form is for alumni only. Tickets for students, faculty, staff and the general public will be available at the Krannert Center information desk beginning Wednesday, Aug. 28. Click here for more details.

As you finalize your plans for the first game, coaches and players will be hard at work preparing for Maryville College of Tennessee. Many of the Berry players hail from Georgia and nearby states, but some have come from as far away as Washington, Illinois and New Jersey to be part of the new program. Head coach Tony Kunczewski is particularly proud of his team’s strong academic profile, which compares favorably with that of other incoming students.

“It was a team effort to get this first class,” said Kunczewski, crediting the many students, faculty and staff who assisted with the recruiting process. “I like to think our players epitomize Berry.”

Looking ahead to a schedule that includes six games against Southern Athletic Association foes, Kunczewski emphasized, “We don’t talk about winning. If that’s all that it’s about, then I think you’re missing the point. Our goal is to get a little bit better each week. I believe we are set up for success here both on and off the field. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the job.”

As fundraising efforts continue for an on-campus stadium – christened Valhalla by lead donor Steve Cage (74C) – the Vikings will split their 2013 home games between Barron Stadium and nearby Darlington School. Those interested in supporting the Valhalla project have the option of making a gift online (select Valhalla or Clark Track when prompted for a gift designation) or emailing David Clark (85c) for more details.

Complete coverage of all Berry sports is available at www.berryvikings.com.

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Stadium Donors

From left, Roger Lusby, Steve Cage, Victor the Viking and Bert Clark.

Berry’s planned stadium for football, track and field, and lacrosse got a significant boost – and a name – when Trustee Steve Cage (74C) pledged $2.5 million to start fundraising for the facility and christened it “Valhalla” after the Great Hall of Viking warriors in Norse mythology.

Cage was the major benefactor of the Steven J. Cage Athletic and Recreation Center and also funded four full-tuition scholarships for students in the Campbell School of Business.

Two other loyal Berry supporters, Trustees Bert Clark (82C) and Roger Lusby (79C), are focusing their philanthropic efforts on the Viking blue-tinted track that will circle the new stadium’s field, combining their commitments to create a matching fund (dollar-for-dollar) for all future gifts to “Clark Track.”

The proposed stadium structure will feature seating for 1,200 fans, concessions, game-day and track-and-field locker rooms, and state-of-the-art viewing and press boxes. It will be enhanced by a grassy picnic-style terraced seating area on the opposite sideline. The project also includes the renovation of Richards Gym into a field house with weight room, nearby practice field, and locker rooms for football, lacrosse and tennis, along with associated athletic offices.

“Valhalla will be a gathering place to cheer on our student-athletes, and it will help increase the vibrancy on campus as well,” Cage said. “The Cage Center helped transform the campus by providing recreational and educational opportunities. I look forward to the creation of a festive and spirited atmosphere surrounding football, lacrosse, track and field, and intramurals.”

If you wish to support the stadium project or take advantage of the matching funds available for gifts to the track, please visit our online giving site (be sure to select “Valhalla” or “Clark Track” from the gift designation drop-down menu).

The Krannert Center food court currently referred to as Valhalla will be renamed by students in the coming months.

Full story.

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