Why start collegiate football at Barton?

Why start collegiate football at Barton?

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This letter was written by Doug Searcy, President of Barton College in North Carolina, to Hall of Fame COO and Executive Producer George Veras in regards to why they are starting a collegiate football team at Barton.


Dear George,

My name is Doug Searcy and I am the President of Barton College in North Carolina.  It was nice to meet you and your team as our staff from Barton toured the Hall of Fame in November.  You have an excellent facility representing a deep and rich tradition of football across the years and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  Thank you for your hospitality.

As you may recall from our conversation, we are starting DII, NCAA football in 2020.  During our discussion you asked me, “Why start collegiate football at Barton?” and I shared the following story.  You asked that I send this to you in writing so that you could share the story and advance the cause for football.

Growing up with four children in our family and my dad making about $35,000 a year, going to college was not considered an option for my siblings and me.  In 1976, (I was 6) my mother, in a leap of faith, took my brother Cliff to a four-year college one hour from our home.  My brother was 6’3” 245 lbs. and was pretty quick – he was an outstanding offensive tackle.  Upon arrival they met with the head coach of the college’s football team, setting in motion a course of action that would change our lives forever.

The short version of the story is that my brother received a scholarship to play college football and four years later graduated as a two-time all-conference player and more importantly, cum laude, with an English major.  He taught high school English for 30 years and retired, satisfied and fulfilled.

My mother’s courageous move changed the course of our lives.  My sister and I went on to college and both received our doctorates… She is now a college professor of Mathematics and I’m a college president.

To me football is more than just a sport. It’s a doorway, an opportunity and a pathway to the future.

While some institutions are running away from football Barton College is strategically and intentionally running toward football. As authorized by our Board of Trustees and fully endorsed by our campus and community, Barton College is starting a football team and beginning play in 2020.

We believe:

  • Football is a pathway to higher education for students who may never have considered attending college.
  • Football creates community, helping students achieve success through support and accountability.
  • Football opens the door to greater, lifelong earning potential. (Research says that students with four-year degrees will likely earn a cumulative $1 million more over the course of their lifetime than those without a degree.)
  • Football scholarships can make college more affordable.
  • Football can enhance the vitality of a campus and engage a community.

Barton College is a four-year, liberal arts college in Eastern North Carolina with accreditation by the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges.  We are ranked No. 5 in the Southeast Colleges ranking by U.S. News and World Report and are ranked No. 7 for Best Value in the same region. Our 1,075 students represent 20 states and 17 countries, but most of our students are from rural regions of North Carolina and are first-generation students. Ninety-five percent of our graduating seniors have jobs or are in graduate school within six months of graduation.  Ninety-eight percent of our students receive financial aid and scholarships.

Barton’s mission is to create opportunities for young men and women to further their education by creating intellectual, spiritual, social and cultural programs and opportunities. Football is a key component to helping us meet the goals of our mission.

Thank you for the invitation to share our story and bring to light the capacity and value that this game brings to the educational pursuits of students across the nation.


Douglas N. Searcy, Ph.D.


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