The Georgia Southern football team got a boost in its scholarship fund Saturday during the first Eagle Fund Shoot Sporting Clays Tournament for Scholarships at the Dorchester Shooting Preserve in Midway.
Frank Hook, director of donor relations for the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation, said the event was the brainchild of Claude Dryden of Dryden Enterprises and his son-in-law Danny Creasy.
Hook added that he thinks Saturday’s shoot could be the largest amount of money raised during a single-day special event benefitting the Eagles’ football program. Hook said foundation members still are tallying the funds and must still factor in expenses that need to be paid out, but so far they’ve grossed more than $150,000. Dryden said it is the largest one-day gross sum the event has brought in since they started organizing the shoots at Dorchester Shooting Preserve.
Dryden and Creasy used to organize a similar event that benefitted the American Diabetes Association for nine consecutive years, raising more than $400,000 for the cause.
Hook said he had no idea what a clay shoot was before he met Dryden around a year ago.
“One of our former coaches had told me that there was a special fellow that I needed to meet by the name of Claude Dryden,” Hook said. “We found the time to meet and say hello, and later on he said he wanted to do something for Georgia Southern. … At that particular time, he didn’t tell me what it was. … A lot of his family had gone to Georgia Southern. He had an affinity for the school. Claude is a graduate and had several children go there.”
Hook said that foundation members met with Dryden on Dec. 18 at his Savannah home and formed the committee to put the clay shoot together. They thought holding the event on the Saturday before Easter might be tough because people tend to go out of town and be with family.
“But the facility was available, so we booked it,” Hook said.
“Each June 30, we help supplement the athletic-department budget through the athletic foundation by giving monies for all sports,” Hook said, explaining how the clay shoot will help GSU athletics. “This particular event actually will benefit all sports, even though it (the money) goes to football. It relieves the amount that we would have to give the other sports, so it is a windfall for all of our sports.
“But the money from this event does go directly to support football scholarships.”
Hook said 42 teams registered. Several items were donated for a silent auction, and members of the Georgia Southern cheer squad served as scorekeepers and trapper shooters for the event.
Several GSU football staff members, including head coach Willie Fritz, attended the shoot, and GSU President Brooks Keel took some shots at the clays.
The team of Dan Shealy, Greg Miller, Charlie Upchurch and Marty Fischer took first place with 173 points.