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Big Green hits the greens at Bellefonte Country Club

Jun. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

BELLEFONTE, Ky. -- The Marshall University Big Green Coaches Tour made a Friday stop at Bellefonte Country Club just outside of Ashland to play a round of golf and rub elbows with fans of the kelly green in the Bluegrass State.

"We've been going to games since about 1990, and my 9-year-old son has been to every home game except for one since he was 2," said Aaron Tice, 42, of Bellefonte as he prepared to tee off. "It's a great day to come out and support the growth of the facilities that will help us compete in Conference USA and beyond."

Indeed, Marshall is in the midst of a $30 million fundraising effort dubbed the Vision Campaign to build an indoor football practice field, track, student-athlete center and sports medicine facility.

One phase of the project, an $8 million soccer complex and park, is already underway and should be complete by August 1.

"Today has been great," said Dwane Johnson, president of the Big Green chapter in Ashland. "We've had 12 groups out, and I think that's the most we've ever had."

Events like Friday's are important in remaining in touch with Marshall's extended community, especially in a place like Ashland where more often than not fans are sporting University of Kentucky blue.

"It's what the coaches tour is all about," Johnson said. "We want to get people from the chapter together and get some of the excitement back while getting some money for the Vision Campaign."

"I usually try to make it out to four or five of these stops," said Thundering Herd volleyball coach Mitch Jacobs. "But this one, I've got special memories because about two years ago my dad was in visiting and we were able to get my dad out here and just had a wonderful afternoon.

"(Ashland) is such a friendly place, and there's a lot of Kentucky blue, but there's a blue bridge and a green bridge for a reason," he continued. "There's a lot of Marshall here in this community and it's important that we spend more time here with the fans and supporters. That's the main thing we need to do is spend more time here."

The next stop for the coaches tour is at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Saturday and Sunday.

The primary function of the Big Green Scholarship Foundation is to ensure scholarships for up to 350 student athletes and ensure they receive a quality education at Marshall.

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