Bearcat Football Receives Award from United Way

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Head Coach Mark Speckman and the Willamette University football team have received an award from the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley for the team's community service efforts the past five years during the Days of Caring. The football team and the City of Salem were Co-Winners of the Days of Caring Volunteer Team of the Year Award.

Speckman, wide receiver Scott Schoettgen and quarterback Ryan Whitcomb were on-hand to receive the award at the United Way's annual campaign recognition dinner on Thursday, March 12. The dinner was attended by more than 400 community members. Other nominees for the Days of Caring Volunteer Team of the Year were Portland General Electric, the Willamette University Class of 2012 (Opening Days), AmeriTitle and Unitrin Specialties.

The award recognizes the spirit of volunteering, plus the team captain’s leadership, project outcomes and number of volunteer hours. The United Way seeks to honor teams that go above and beyond the normal involvement of a group or organization in the Days of Caring. The annual project featured 1,200 volunteers who participated in a week of service projects that had an impact of over $100,000 to the tri-county area.

Willamette's football team has been a key partner in the Days of Caring. As part of their preseason training camp each year, Speckman, his coaching staff and approximately 100 players help with significant community service projects. The number of players and their combined strength allow the football team to take on the large volunteer projects.

In 2007, the Bearcats spread four dump truck loads of bark mulch and cleaned up flower beds at Bush's Pasture Park. In 2008, the football team cleared miles and miles of trails and removed tall brush around trees at Wallace Marine Park in West Salem.

Scott Schoettgen (WR, left), Ryan Whitcomb (QB, back) and Head Coach Mark Speckman (right) represented WU at the United Way recognition dinner.

Scott Schoettgen (WR, left), Ryan Whitcomb (QB, back) and Head Coach Mark Speckman (right) represented WU at the United Way recognition dinner.