PHILIPPI, W.Va. – During the weekend of October 16-17, Alderson Broaddus celebrated the 50th anniversary of offering soccer on campus. President Richard Shearer, who fired his cannon for every goal our soccer team scored back in the 60s and 70s, is credited for bringing the sport to AB.
The weekend was a special one for the men who played soccer over multiple generations at AB. Thanks to a committee consisting of current employees, former coaches, and former players, an all-star team of the greatest players to ever suit up for the Battlers was named and honored with a banquet.
“Long before football; there was soccer at AB,” said Jay E. Nussel, vice president for institutional advancement, who acted as Master of Ceremonies during the banquet. “Long before Homecoming featured a halftime celebration; there was soccer at AB. It is time to celebrate this legacy of men’s soccer.”
Darrell Saunders and Bob Gray were named as honorary coaches for the All-50 Year Team. The entire All 50 Year Team is listed below. More than 20 were able to attend a jam packed Lobby of Burbick Hall to receive a small memento of the honor. According to Vice President Nussel, there were some especially moving moments that evening.
A moment of silence for the deceased members of the team and speeches by Bob Gray and Darrell Saunders were particularly poignant. A special tribute to the recently deceased President Richard Shearer by his son-in-law Dick Wilson and the gift of Coach Saunders’ NAIA Hall of Fame Plaque were very pleasant surprises.
“The weekend continued on Saturday with over 60 participants in the Alumni Game where it is reported that there were no serious injuries but that Ibuprofen was on most every participant’s mind,” said Nussel jokingly.
Later on that evening, an alumni tailgate party was held immediately before the highly regarded current AB Men’s Varsity Team took on Salem International.
“Perhaps the most important part of the weekend’s activities was the simple opportunity for old teammates to reconnect, tell stories, and thank the coaches that made 50 years of soccer possible,” said Nussel. “These relationships are life-long. The friendships are enduring. And the memories are nothing short of priceless. Fifty years of soccer is something to celebrate not just at a banquet or a weekend, but something to celebrate for generations to come.”
Mitch St. Clair