Eyeing the endzone: Plan for football club gains ground

A small room on the third floor of the Student Center resembles a war room, where members of the DePaul club football team strategize for its future.

On a whiteboard, big problems having to do with the budget, recruitment, and insurance are listed – yet nobody looks nervous. That’s because these problems are no longer impediments like they once were. Now they are mere bumps in the road.

After receiving insurance the team is now going down the path toward officially becoming a club and having a season this upcoming fall. “I was thinking I wasn’t getting the insurance until next fall,” said club founder Riley Halligan. “I was fully prepared to go into the meeting and not getting it and to fight for it to

clear. It felt like it was the last thing we needed to get going, I felt so numb from happiness.”

With the club now insured, Halligan and the rest of his team have been advancing through scrimmages, spreading the word about the club. Members have been contacting fraternities and sororities, recruiting at the Ray and at the Student Center, and contacting alumni for help with fundraising.

“There’s a plethora of options to fundraise and there’s always room to make money. The worry factor is there, but there are definitely options to help us. It’s going to be difficult, but it’s just one more obstacle that we really want to [overcome]. Our dedication is going to be apparent to the school and the alumni,” said club treasurer Devin Miller.

Factoring in equipment, travel, coaching wages and other costs, Halligan predicts that  they will have to raise around $30,000 to be fully prepared for a season. However, the team hopes the proud alumni network

could help out. They are also considering holding other forms of fundraisers, but they are split between what they will do with the money first considering that they don’t even have a coach yet. Even though Halligan, Miller and defensive lineman Nicholas Joebgen said they would offer to be player-coaches, they all agree that an actual coach be beneficial.

“The legacy factor with this is phenomenal,” said Halligan. “That is something that going forward is going to be in the front of everyone’s mind. You have a slate to make your name in DePaul history, and that will help getting a coach.”

The club plans to use the history that surrounds DePaul’s football program to their advantage, and considering that the last game played by a DePaul football team was Dec. 13, 1948, that’s quite a gap in the history. Loyola created their club team from a similar situation two years ago

and is noted as DePaul’s biggest ally. Halligan said that the astronomical progress they had wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Loyola’s help. Loyola has invited their players to scrimmages and practices, offered advice about who to talk to, and even helped lay out a framework for the club.

They did so much for the team that when DePaul plays them during the season, they likely wouldn’t see it as a rivalry game. They would see it as “playing their brothers,” according to Joebgen.

The camaraderie that the team shares with their rivals up north is also the same they want with the student body. The clubs wants to be an extension of the school and they dream of giving everyone who wants

to be involved a chance. They have even opened up their recruitment to women and hope they can get large crowds at their games.

“I want our student section to be there to cheer us on, not just there to jeer the other team,” said Joebgen. “I want them to hang out with us after the game or add to the program. I want everyone to love and support this team and getting everyone who wants to help to be involved.”

But before the team can play in front of a cheering DePaul crowd, they have business to take care of first. Halligan and the rest of his club know that they have to secure appropriate funding before they can see the support on Saturdays.

“We need do our jobs and keep a hungry attitude until we get on the field and even when we are off the field,” said Halligan. “We made a lot of steps in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work and not a lot of time. I’m ecstatic that we got the insurance, but there’s a lot to be done.”