Yesterday, in Part 1, we introduced the Football Letterwinners Association. Today we continue our conversation with Matt Allison, former RU quarterback, who has taken a leading role in the group.
OTB: What is the relationship between Kyle Flood and the Letterwinners? And how has the relationship been between Julie Hermann and the group?
Matt: Coach Flood is thrilled to see us fill up the side line. More than that, he is thrilled with the influx of funding that is starting to flow in. There are so many things our team needs to step up to so that we succeed in the Big Ten. Our guys/gals are on the mission to "pay back my scholarship" and begin to participate so that we can rise to the top. Rutgers has some of the brightest alums in business, education, science, engineering, medicine, lawyers, and other sectors. I get goose bumps during football games when we celebrate Rutgers Faculty Members.
RU Computer Science Prof. Rebecca Wright honored at a game
There are significant breakthrough's in many departments here at Rutgers. It is absolutely wonderful to recognize our professors, scientists and administrators to celebrate their accomplishments on the field during the game.
Julie Hermann has been a pillar of support for the Football Letterwinners. Julie and her staff, along with Marco Battaglia, were extremely generous in finding a space for the Football Letterwinners Lounge. A 1,500 square foot space for us to go to during halftime for refreshments, snacks and catch up time with friends - old and new - who played here "back in the day". Having and using that space has transformed our group. If you want to experience "Family", just visit our Letterwinners Lounge at half time! Julie has a host of other brainstorm ideas that we will be cultivating as we move in to 2015. She has been very involved and supportive.
OTB: What has the group been doing this football season and what do you have in store down the line?
Matt: Wow, we have been busy. In January, we built the new Letterwinners Active/Dynamic web site. In the Spring we attended a private football practice session in the stadium. In August, we held the Pete Savino Golf outing, which was a blast at Toms River County Club. We opened the Football Letterwinners Lounge at the Penn State Game/ Tailgate at the Rutgers Visitor Center. An important step, in October we visited the Ohio State Letterwinners "O" Association to understand how they have grown their group. Established 125 years ago! The Hall of Fame Dinner was on November 14, inducting the 1961 Undefeated Team and Shaun O'Hara. And we're inducting a host of other sports ( long overdue). This month we're adding Football Letterwinner apparel to the web site for easy ordering. On the Table to discuss for Winter 2015, New York City Night (current Rutgers players and former NFL guys Roast event), planning for a Letterwinners pavilion location and development, along with joint Varsity R events to be planned, secured and announced for 2015.
1961 Undefeated Team at Indiana game
OTB: What role do you see letterwinners playing in Rutgers athletics in the future?
Matt: As former players come back, as they get involved, and trust me, there are many ways to "get involved" and participate, I personally see the organization being paramount in attracting talent, friends and families here to Rutgers and have memorable times. We have momentum and our former players feel good about where the funding will be invested/spent: Capital building plans - build a pavilion for Letterwinners - Scholarship specific to football, special events, helping Letterwinners in need - are just a few of the venues that are needed in this mission.
Matt Allison in action on the sidelines at the ttfp game
OTB: How did you get involved and why?
Matt: Being one of the initial members, I was highly involved in the 80's. Then life happened....I had three kids, coached sports, demanding job and kid focused , I was not able to get back here to Rutgers as often. But that is the joy of this organization. You can come back and either be on the side line and enjoy the comradery or jump in and be in the action of the management and planning of these impactful events. The Rutgers family is here with open arms to greet you regardless how long you have been away.
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On the Banks wants to thank Matt Allison for taking time to chat with us and share information about the Football Letterwinners Association. Below is a video, one of several produced by and for the group, highlighting the bonding and excitement of Rutgers football.