HBCU Field of Dreams is an initiative started by NFL Hall of Famer Willie “Honey Bear” Lanier, to raise $50 million over the next 3 years to install state-of-the-art playing surfaces at nearly 3 dozen HBCU football stadiums. Through the efforts of the Honey Bear Project, Lanier hopes to level the playing field for students attending HBCUs.
Lanier, who attended Morgan State University, was saddened by the state of Virginia Union University’s (VUU) 113 year old football field. Lanier motivated to revitalize the field, partnered with FieldTurf, a Tarkett Sports Company, the world leader in artificial turf. This fall the VUU Panthers will charge on to their new turf field.
Tara Owens, the athletic director at CSU, said Lanier’s generosity came at the right time as the university was contemplating spending nearly $1 million in improvements on its athletic field, including its football and track fields.
Owens echoed Lanier’s sentiment that having a modern, up-to-date athletic facility in college sports is more than a vanity project for HBCUs like CSU. It is an all-around wise investment that can offer returns far beyond a sporting facility’s improved aesthetics.
“We believe these upgrades will help us in our recruiting efforts while providing our current student-athletes with a quality facility to practice and compete,” she said. “These facility upgrades also will create new revenue streams through facility rentals, and we look forward to hosting local, regional, and national events.”
Owens said the renovation is expected to be finished by September of 2021. At that time, CSU will launch a special grand opening in honor of its new field and partnership with the HBCU Field of Dreams.
After nearly 75 years, Central State University (CSU) will be breaking ground this month on a state of the art turf football field, courtesy of nearly a $1 million donation from HBCU Field of Dreams, through the Honey Bear Project.