MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Faulkner athletic department will become the first chapter of Tom Osborne's TeamMates mentoring program outside the states of Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. The announcement was made today at a press conference on campus with the legendary former Nebraska head football coach.
Osborne founded TeamMates with his wife Nancy in 1991 in an effort to provide support and encouragement to school-aged children. The goal is to see them pursue post-secondary education and to help reach this goal, the youth meet with their mentor at least one hour a week. Currently, over 3,000 youth across Nebraska and Iowa are benefiting from the mentoring program.
"We're very pleased that Faulkner University will be our first TeamMates chapter a significant distance from Nebraska," said Osborne, the current athletic director at the University of Nebraska and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame who is scheduled to speak this evening at Faulkner's annual benefit dinner. "We're excited about the standing relationship we'll have with Faulkner and with the impact the administrators and student-athletes will have with the mentees in this community."
The Faulkner chapter will involve coaches and selected student-athletes, who will be trained as mentors through the TeamMates training program. Doug Amos, Faulkner's assistant athletic director for media relations and marketing, will oversee Faulkner's chapter.
"As a member of the NAIA, our athletic department is committed to the association's Champions of Character program, and in researching TeamMates we discovered that it fits right in with our mission to be involved in our community and to provide service learning opportunities for our student-athletes," Amos said. "To be closely partnered with a program associated with a man like coach Osborne is something we're extremely excited about."
Osborne and his wife both currently serve as TeamMates mentors in Lincoln, Neb., and have seen the program grow from 22 mentor-mentee matches in 1991 to over 4,000 today. By the year 2015, TeamMates is expected to be the largest in-school mentoring program in the country.
Faulkner representatives have already met with administrators from Alabama Christian Academy and Prattville Christian Academy and have secured a TeamMates relationship with those two schools. Other possible TeamMates relationships are in the works, according to Amos. Faulkner is currently completing the approval process and will then begin training for the official start of the program, scheduled for January of 2010.