Reverse Raffle

Eagle Football Alumni Association Hosts Annual Fundraiser

To some people, it’s known as “The Reverse Raffle.”

Others know it as “The Auction.”

No matter what you call it, everyone always agrees – the Eagle Football Alumni Association (EFAA) puts on quite a party.

The 2012 EFAA Reverse Raffle and Auction saw a record crowd and record donations as former players, coaches and fans bid on Georgia Southern football memorabilia while enjoying dinner, drinks and music at Paulson Stadium’s Bishop Fieldhouse.

“It’s something you’re going to tell your friends about,” said Gordon Hunter, Georgia Southern’s Eagle Fund special projects coordinator. “The entire week after the event, people talk about it. I think that’s where a lot of our growth has come from over the years.”

In 2011, 476 people attended the event, setting a record. This year, 622 came out for the party.
Many were former players, who got to re-live the greatest moments in Georgia Southern lore as some historic games played on the television screens.

“We played some of the previous national championship games on the TVs in there, and it was fun watching some of the older guys,” said Hunter. “Towards the end of the night, they were oohing and aahing like the game was live. I said, ‘Guys, you know what’s going to happen,’ but they watched like the game was being played that night.”

Fans left the auction with some incredible items. Some of the pieces of memorabilia auctioned off were a framed, matted, signed print of Eagles head coach Jeff Monken and Alabama head coach Nick Saban before the 2011 game between the teams, autographed prints of Eagle standouts Laron Scott and Jaybo Shaw and a 2011 Southern Conference Championship ring.

The evening’s musical guest – The Silver Eagle Band out of Tampa, Fla. – even fetched a large bid after putting itself on the auction block.

And to think, the band almost didn’t come until realizing that it was the same event at which it played a year prior.

“They were already booked that day, but I talked to the manager and he said, ‘You know what? I can move some things around.’ They have no ties to Georgia Southern other than the Eagle in their name, but they just wanted to come back,” Hunter said.

“Then, the manager approached me while we were doing the live auction and said, ‘Raffle us off for a night in Statesboro.’ We expected the ring to fetch a high price – the team had just gotten theirs that day and it was fresh on everyone’s mind – but the band was a surprise.”

The biggest prize of the evening – the $10,000 grand prize from the reverse raffle – was donated straight back to the EFAA.

All proceeds from the event went to the organization, which is made up entirely of former players, coaches, managers and trainers, and raises money for things like the Erk Russell Scholarship Endowment, the Eagle Fund, the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation and the football program’s operations.

Founded in 2006, the EFAA holds two annual events, the Reverse Raffle and Auction, and the Legends of Georgia Southern Football Golf Tournament, which was held this year in Macon on May 18.

The golf event raised roughly $15,000 for the EFAA, and each participant had the opportunity to play the 15th hole with head football coach Jeff Monken.

The entire coaching staff played the tournament, as well as former players like Steve Bussoletti, Bo Galvin, Terry Harvin, Hal Radford, J.R. Richardson, Chaz Williams and Melvin Cox.

“Back in the day when a lot of these guys were playing, there wasn’t any money, and they really had to scrimp and scrape,” said John Mulherin, president of the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation. “As an athletic department, we’re still scrimping and scraping, but the money the EFAA raises and gives back to make the program better makes a huge difference in the lives of the student-athletes, the coaches, their families and the fans.”

The EFAA attracts past players like Tracy Ham, Darryl Hopkins and Harvin, but also includes players like Raja Andrews, Dusty Reddick and Matt Wise, who have graduated within the last five years.

“They always say that continuity wins championships. Well continuity leads to success, too. In 10 years, it’s going to be Raja Andrews, Matt Wise and Dusty Reddick leading the organization,” Mulherin said. “If you can keep that continuity, keep the younger guys involved and keep it fun, it makes it that much easier.”

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