Willie Lanier, NFL Hall of Famer and former Kansas City Chiefs great is announcing an initiative to install state-of-the-art playing surfaces at nearly three-dozen Historically Black College Universities (HBCUs) football stadiums. Partnering with FieldTurf, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and installers of artificial playing surfaces for athletic teams, the initiative is called the Honey Bear Project after Lanier’s pro-football nickname. The duo seeks to raise $50 million over the next two years.
“I’m excited about this project and I am confident we will get the support,” said Lanier. “Many of the football fields at HBCUs are in bad shape. Some, like the one at Virginia Union University in my hometown of Richmond, are more than 100-years old and have never been replaced.”
FieldTurf recently built the new football surface at Virginia Union University’s Hovey Stadium, the second oldest football stadium in the United States behind Harvard Stadium which was completely resurfaced with hybrid turf technology five years ago.
According to Lanier, “Poor field surfaces put Black college teams at a competitive disadvantage and make it tougher to recruit top high school players, who compare the fields to other schools that may have ‘high tech’ artificial surfaces.” Lanier continued, “Bad football fields can hinder the quality of play because patchy uneven surfaces make good footing more difficult and can negatively impact player performance.”
Lanier is no stranger to giving back. With more than five decades of charitable service, Lanier hopes building new fields at HBCUs will be his lasting legacy to the game of football and to America’s Black colleges.
“With these fields, I hope to leave a bigger footprint on the game of football — leveling the playing field for the nation’s Black colleges by replacing their old fields with new ones,” Lanier emphasizes.
For more information about The Honey Bear Project, call 248-862-5981, or visit www.honeybearproject.com.
About Willie Lanier
In 1968, Lanier became pro football’s first African American starting middle-linebacker. He ranks 53rd on the list of the NFL’s greatest 100 players. Morgan State University alumni, Hall of Famer-Kansas City Chiefs career, and “NFL Man of the Year.”
SOURCE Willie Lanier