DUE WEST, S.C. (courtesy erskinesports.com) — Athletic Director Mark Peeler envisioned the return of Erskine football’s return beginning in 2008.
“Since I walked onto this campus 23 years ago, I felt it was a special place that offered a unique opportunity for students to develop in a rural Christian environment, but something was missing,” Peeler said.
“Much of what I thought was missing had to do with school spirit and campus pride. I always felt football filled those pieces in—at least it does in many schools.”
Peeler worked on proposals for a football program, but the idea failed to gain traction at first. Then, after 10 years and two unsuccessful attempts, he was excited to see plans for football come together, backed by the Erskine College administration, in 2018.
“I am honored to get to be involved with it and am so grateful for all the people who have worked so hard to bring this vision to life. We are definitely doing football ‘The Fleet Way,'” Peeler said.
And now, since the hiring of head coach Shap Boyd in the fall of 2018, the program has been built from the ground up.
“I just want to say how very happy we are to finally be releasing a schedule,” head coach Shap Boyd said. “It has been an interesting two-year pre-season, and we are looking forward to being able to play some actual games.”
“Some of our players have been practicing for two years for this opportunity. We feel blessed to finally be in this position, and God willing, we will get this kicked off in the spring.”
Fleet Football was recently featured in the New York Times and The State and also received screen time on WSPA. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erskine’s first game, scheduled for September 5, 2020, was postponed.
Now, over six months later (189 days to be exact) on March 13, 2021, the Flying Fleet plans to host their first home football game in nearly 70 years.
But who’s counting?