ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (Ouachita Baptist)-Ouachita Baptist University President Rex Horne has announced plans for a "100-Yard Campaign" to raise funds to construct Cliff Harris Stadium. Dr. Horne presented the plans during Ouachita's Dec. 13 Board of Trustees meeting on the Ouachita campus.
The stadium upgrade, projected to be completed for the 2014 football season, will include updated stadium seating, press box, parking lot and related improvements. The Ouachita Tigers, who just completed their sixth straight winning season under Head Coach Todd Knight, have compiled the most consecutive winning seasons of any college team in Arkansas.
Harris, an All-Conference and All-America safety for the Tigers in the 1960s and All-Pro safety for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s, played in six Pro Bowls and five Super Bowls for the Cowboys. A major donor has provided a lead gift as a matching challenge for the project, with additional funds being solicited over the next 120 days through the 100-Yard Campaign.
"I could not be more thrilled with the prospect of having a new football stadium for our Tigers to play in beginning next fall," said Ouachita President Rex Horne. "Our stadium is the first thing many people pass on the way to our beautiful campus. For many years improvements have been needed. Now a generous gift and challenge makes this construction possible.
"I am delighted that the stadium will be named after our own Cliff Harris," he added. "Cliff was an All-Pro, played in five Super Bowls and his name is one of very few in Dallas Cowboys history that is in the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Cliff's devotion to Ouachita across the years is exemplary. I expect friends and alumni of Ouachita will make this possibility of a new stadium a reality.
"My priority for the next 120 days is leading this effort," Dr. Horne said. "If we make a strong effort in gifts and pledges in the next few months, we will open the season in the new and improved Cliff Harris Stadium. I am asking for all the Tiger faithful and friends to join us in this vital project."
"Honoring Cliff Harris with the naming of the new football stadium has great significance," said Coach Knight. "Cliff has been able to accomplish things that very few have coming from any level of college football. Super Bowls and Pro Bowls say a great deal about his contributions to the game but what many don't know is the way he did it. Hard work and the values he learned in the Ouachita football program make him so unique! Cliff is a great representative of the game of football and especially Ouachita Baptist University.
"This is such an important move for the university and the football program," Knight said. "Everyone around the country is updating facilities. We must upgrade facilities as well to compete for the best student athletes that can represent the university and the football program in a great way."
"This project is long overdue," emphasized Scott Street, a former Ouachita quarterback who is chairing the 100-Yard Campaign. "OBU's stadium is the first structure you see driving by the campus. It is the first impression and needs a facelift. Coach Knight and the coaching staff have brought OBU's football program to a new level over the past few years and we need to bring our facilities up a level also. It has a huge impact on recruitment.
Naming the stadium after Cliff Harris is such a natural fit," Street added. "He has helped put the football program on the map. We encourage generous contributions toward this much-needed project."