by D. Mark Mitchell
Doug Barfield, former Opelika High School Athletic Director and head football coach, decided, way back in 1990, that OHS should combine all the booster clubs from each sport to one combined booster club.
Coach Barfield’s idea turned into reality as the Opelika All-Sports Booster Club (OASBC.) The original board members were Rusty Melnick, Tim Gore, Margaret Askew, Armond Crowder, Stanley Campbell, Tom Rickles and myself.
The idea was simple: ask businesses and individuals to support the total Opelika School athletics program by making a once a year donation that covers every sport at OHS and OMS.
The OASBC took off, and became a favorite for our supporters. The one time annual donation was easier for all and allowed sponsors to budget money on an annual basis.
A few years after OASBC was formed, the Corporate Sponsorship Program was designed by Coach Barfield, Tim Gore and myself. This plan was designed with three levels. In 1992 the smallest package was $250 with $1000 being the largest. Corporate sponsors received different levels of benefits depending on their level of contribution.
The first year’s goal was to raise $10,000. We surpassed that goal by $2,000. Over the years, we have made a few changes to keep up with the times, but the same principles apply.
Due to the increase in money raised over the years, the OASBC Board decided to move these funds to an account at OHS.
Dr. Phil Raley, OCS superintendent at the time, allowed us to move the money to the school in a separate account which is supervised by the Opelika City School System. This provides transparency and accountability for the funds raised by the booster club.
Today, the Opelika All-Sports Booster Club raises around $85,000 -$90,000 a year. A large portion of this money is dispersed to each sport, including cheerleading and OMS athletics each September. The remaining funds are used for athletics on an as-needed basis. Each sport receives $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the number of students participating and needs of each sport.
If coaches need money for their sport, they submit a request in writing to the OASBC board for approval. I can tell you first hand that most requests are approved.
Also, when an OHS team wins a state championship, the OASBC buys each team member a Championship ring.
The OASBC handles many functions for Opelika school athletics, including the annual Corporate Sponsor Appreciation Dinner. This year’s Appreciation Dinner will be Aug. 11 inside the Bulldog Cafe at OHS beginning at 6:30 p.m. All sponsors will receive an invitation to the dinner which will be catered by Kitchen 3810.
The head coaches for all Opelika sports will give short talks about their programs.
I want to thank every corporate sponsor that supports Opelika athletics. The money has helped Opelika maintain a first-rate athletic program and has provided many extras for our student/athletes.
The 2016-17 Opelika All-Sports Booster Club Board of Directors are
D.Mark Mitchell, Jeff Sasser, Adrian Yountz, Trip Garner, Emily Severin and Jeff Sasser.
OPELIKA SEASON TICKETS
Current season ticket holders can purchase season tickets today through Friday, Aug. 5, inside the lobby of the Opelika Performing Arts Center from 3:45-6 p.m.
Swap day for current season ticket holders will be Monday, Aug. 8.
New season tickets can be purchased Tuesday, Aug. 9.
For more information call Mike Melnick at 334-745-9715.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.