Mercer University’s mascot is the bear, so it’s only fair that the university installed a statue of a frightening one outside of Five Star Stadium, home to the school’s football team. News of the statue was broken on the university website.
A gift from retired businessman Irwin Belk, of the famous department store chain, the statue was put together from 500 pounds of clay before being cast in bronze. Senior associate AD Brian Gerrity offered more on the statue.
“Thanks to the generosity of Irwin Belk and the craftsmanship of Gregory Johnson, this statue is going to completely change the entrance to Five Star Stadium on game day,” said Brian Gerrity, senior associate director of athletics and executive director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation. “It will be a focal point for pictures and a place to rally around.”
As to why the bear looks so terrifying, Johnson offered his own reason.
“What I attempt to do when I sculpt is make the sculptures so lifelike that they look like they can get down off of their settings,” said Johnson, who has created more than 250 major pieces of sculpture. “This bear will give strength to our team and make the opponent tremble with fear.”
Now, granted, the statue does look very real and is sure to make some people stop and stare, but keep in mind that Mercer football has only been back for two seasons after being on hiatus for 70 years. The team has done an average job in two seasons under head coach Bobby Lamb, going 16-8, but is a statue really the way to intimidate the opposition? How about playing strong defense to the point where the stadium gets filled with rabid fans? Or maybe even bring a live bear onto the field (on a leash of course)?
Either way, the team and fans will get to see firsthand if the statue does indeed intimidate on September 12, when Mercer has its home opener against the Pioneer Football League’s Stetson Hatters.
Mercer’s first game of the season is on the road against the OVC’s Austin Peay Governors.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Mercer University