Ferrum College to Dedicate New Norton-Tolley Press Box

Donors, dignitaries, alumni, students and special guests will gather at noon for a formal ceremony Saturday’s 1 p.m. Home Football Opener Against Shenandoah University.

Norton-Tolley Press BoxFerrum, Va. (Sept. 13, 2013) – Ferrum College officials and guests will dedicate the new Norton-Tolley Press Box at W.B. Adams Stadium on Sat., Sept. 14, at 12 noon, prior to the 1 p.m. football home-opener against Shenandoah University.  The facility is named in honor of Hank Norton, Ferrum head football coach, educator and athletic director from 1960-93, and in memory of Rick Tolley, former Ferrum assistant coach who later became head football coach at Marshall University in West Virginia.

Norton led Ferrum to four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) football titles in the mid-1960s and 70s and his 1966 team was NJCAA national runner-up.  In the early 1970s Norton helped in the transition from a junior college athletic program to the NCAA Division III ranks when Ferrum became a four-year college.  He guided the Ferrum College Panther’s football team to several NCAA playoff berths and to national semifinal appearances in 1988 and 1989. Norton closed his 34 seasons at Ferrum with a 244-76-1 (.735) career coaching mark.

Tolley, Norton's first full-time assistant football coach, was in his inaugural season at the helm of the Marshall Thundering Herd program when an airplane carrying most of the football team and coaches, including Tolley, crashed on Nov. 14, 1970, near Huntington, W.Va., killing all 75 passengers.  The incident is one of the worst sports-related tragedies in U.S. history and was memorialized in the 2006 movie “We Are Marshall” starring Matthew McConaughey.

Ferrum College president Jennifer Braaten expressed gratitude to generous benefactors whose designated contributions to the current Centennial Campaign made the new press box possible, and to College staff who worked tirelessly to finish the project in time for the opener.  “This represents the ‘capstone’ of our Hank Norton Center that was completed last year,” said Braaten.  “The entire Norton complex is now one of the top student athletic facilities in the state and one of which our Ferrum College family can be proud.” 

The Norton-Tolley Press Box, fronted by 60 reserved club seats, encompasses 1,650 square feet of space on two levels, including a President’s suite and a concession stand on the first level.  The second level, featuring staff work space and enclosed media booths, is flanked by outdoor decks overlooking Adams Field for coaches and film crews. 

Saturday’s game has also been designated as First Responders Appreciation Day.  Police, firefighters, rescue squad personnel, public safety officers, military personnel and emergency volunteers will receive free admission to the game in recognition of their heroic work.

See more photographs of the new Norton-Tolley Press Box here.

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