Panther Club energizes student-athletes
Aug. 29, 2014
There was a lot of celebrating going on Sunday as the Panther Club presented championship
rings to the men's basketball team in honor of its 2014 USA South tournament title.
"We were happy that we were able to do this for these stellar student-athletes,"
said David Fowler '85, a member of the organization's leadership team. "These young
men worked so hard, and beautifully represented not only the college, but the entire
community of LaGrange. We are very proud of all of them."
Fowler said rings were given to 15 players, four coaches and one trainer. Members
of the conference champion golf team will receive rings later to commemorate their
title and first top-10 finish at the national tournament.
Supporting student-athletes is what the Panther Club is all about, said Willie
Maddox '81, Gift Officer in the Development Office and director of the club.
"This is the one and only vehicle where every dollar donated goes strictly to
enhance the student-athlete experience," he said.
The Panther Club was founded four years ago to help raise the profile of the athletic
program and the institution. Athletic Director Jennifer Claybrook said the group
is an invaluable asset.
"Our athletes are fueled by the support of parents, students, alums—anyone who
has an interest in helping them compete and succeed," she said. "Almost half of
LaGrange students are part of a Panther team, and as a former student-athlete of
LaGrange College, I can't think of a better opportunity to support athletics than
through the Panther Club."
Recent donations helped the club purchase a heavy-duty first-aid tent for student-athletes,
helped provide a charter bus to an away football game, funded a new website specifically
for LaGrange College athletics (www.lagrangepanthers.com) and contributed to the
online streaming of games on the Panthers website.
The Panther Club also bought new benches for the soccer/lacrosse field, provided
new lane lines and flags in the indoor swimming pool at the natatorium, secured
new softball uniforms, donated significant funding to resurface the tennis courts
and purchased warm-up suits for all student-athletes.
Most recently, the group purchased two new scoreboards and a shooting machine
for the basketball program. Future plans include remodeling the men's and women's
locker rooms in Mariotti Gym. The club also will be sponsoring a tailgate lunch,
basketball player reunion and alumni game during Homecoming.
Maddox said he has a strong personal connection to the organization's work.
"As a former basketball player at LaGrange College, I know firsthand the important
life lessons I learned with my fellow athletes," he said. "I also know the thrill
of being cheered on by a supportive and enthusiastic crowd. Both of my sons are
LaGrange graduates and former basketball players, and I've seen how fans energized
"The Panther Club carries that support to a whole new level by providing our teams
with additional resources to succeed."
Membership in the club begins with an annual gift of $25 for alumni who have graduated
five years or less from the current year. Other alumni and friends can join for
an annual gift of $50.
Panther Club members can participate in club events and receive regular updates
on the athletic program, as well as a club T-shirt and decal.
To learn more about the Panther Club, visit
or contact Maddox at
or at (706) 880-8773.