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The Catamount Club Sets Records in the Face of Troubling Economy

Sept. 15, 2009

Cullowhee, NC - Despite the economic downturn in 2008 and 2009, the Catamount Club cultivated record growth in annual and overall support while increasing membership in the 2009 fiscal year.

Over the past 12 months, the Western Carolina Athletic Department and the Catamount Club have actively worked to raise additional funds for support of the ever increasing scholarship costs. For the second consecutive year the Catamount Club exceeded the million dollar mark in overall gifts designated to support Western Carolina athletics, finishing at $1,117,062 in gifts to annual and endowment contributions.

"When taken in the context of the economic events of the past year, this is an extraordinary show of support for WCU Athletics, especially in a year of transition for the Catamount Club," says Director of Athletics Chip Smith. "The leadership shown by President Kenny Messer `86, Brian Frerking and Gorham Bradley `04 was crucial in this effort. Every donor, alumnus and fan should be proud of this accomplishment"

With annual scholarship gifts being a crucial need, Catamount alumni and fans responded with a 61% increase in annual support in 2009, increasing the Catamount Scholarship Fund from $241,855 to a record $386,046. Several current donors lead the way by upgrading to the new Champions Club level - $11,500 that will fund a student-athletic scholarship each year.

Catamount Club membership also increased by a dramatic margin from 543 in July 2008 to 678 members by June 2009. With a goal of reaching 800 members by June 30, 2010, the Catamount Club is working diligently to increase support for all 16 programs within the Western Carolina athletic department.

The Catamount Club's mission is to provide the necessary resources to the nearly 325 student athletes at Western Carolina University so they can achieve their full potential academically and athletically.

Frerking joined Western Carolina in June 2008 as Assistant Athletic Director for Development and Bradley took over the daily operations as Director of the Catamount Club in April 2008.