GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman University director of athletics Mike Buddie today announced a new annual fundraising record for Paladin athletics scholarships, totaling $1.366 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year.
The effort includes donations through the Paladin Club, Furman's athletic fundraising arm.
"It is great to see the momentum of Paladin Athletics carry over into another record-breaking fundraising year," said Buddie in making the announcement. "Our supporters continue to step up in support of our student-athletes, and the Paladin Club staff has done a great job stewarding those donors. We rely heavily on these donations, and our student-athletes continue to rise to the competitive challenges of the Southern Conference and beyond."
"We are thrilled to have raised the bar once again for the Paladin Club," said Erin Wissing, Furman's associate athletics director of external operations. "This year's success is a testament to the generosity of our donors, whose passion for Furman Athletics is inspiring. I'd like to commend the Paladin Club staff – Jodi Welp, Elizabeth Mobley, and Reese Hannon – and thank my predecessor, Clint Hill, for his leadership and for laying such a strong foundation for this year's results."
The $1.336M topped the annual goal of $1.33M and exceeded the previous record of $1.28M set last year.
All told, gifts to the Paladin Club, restricted (sport specific) gifts, gifts to capital projects, athletics endowment, and planned gifts netted $6.457M in total athletic commitments last year, including $4.97M in total cash receipts. Athletic commitments for the 2016-17 fiscal year were $5M and total receipts were $5.38M.
Among the noteworthy gifts received in the past year were $1M to establish the Bobby Johnson Head Football Coaching Endowment; $1M to establish the John Bagwell Offensive Coordinator Endowment; $1M for Alley Gym renovations, including a new volleyball court, and to the volleyball endowment; a $1.298M planned gift for men's tennis; and a $1M gift for the Blue Shoes Track House. In addition over $500,000 was secured for new video boards in Timmons Arena.
Furman University's 20-sport athletics program mirrored the Paladin Club's record setting year in 2017-18 with a 73rd place finish among 291 NCAA Division I qualifying schools in Learfield Sports' Directors' Cup competition.
The 73rd place finish, the best in program history, topped the previous high of 86th recorded during the 2001-02 school year.
Furman won the 2017-18 Germann Cup (women) and finished third in the Commissioner's Cup (men) in Southern Conference all-sports competitions. The Paladins captured seven SoCon team championships and advanced six teams into NCAA Tournament competition, including its football squad, which finished a consensus 19th and 20th, respetively, in two FCS polls. Furman's women's golf team posted an 11th place finish in the NCAA Championships, and cross country, led by All-American Allie Buchalski, recorded a seventh place finish. Buchalski capped Furman's signal year with a national runner-up finish in the 5,000m earlier in June.
Furman volleyball, women's soccer and women's tennis teams won SoCon regular season championships, and men's and women's cross country, women's tennis, and women's golf claimed league tournament crowns.
Paladin athletics produced five All-Americans, eight SoCon Players of the Year, seven SoCon Coaches of the Year, and 100 all-conference performers in 2017-18.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information