CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia’s department of athletics and the Virginia Athletics Foundation (VAF) announced today (Dec. 11) a commitment of $5 million from Cynthia and Heywood Fralin to endow the head football coach’s position. This is the first commitment following a matching gift program recently created by the athletics department and the VAF to encourage gifts to endow each of the football coaching positions and the director of athletics position.
The Fralins’ commitment and matching funds will create a permanent endowment of $7.5 million to provide ongoing support for the football program. The Cavaliers are in their fifth year under Bronco Mendenhall, whose position will be named the The Fralin Family Head Football Coach.
“We are so thankful for the generous financial support of Cynthia and Heywood,” said Virginia athletics director Carla Williams. “It is also important for me to note Heywood has been a tremendous friend to both Bronco and myself. His wisdom and guidance have been critical for me. The past nine months have been challenging, and it is our hope this gift from the Fralins will compel others to consider supporting us during these difficult times. Our football program continues to make great strides and this financial support gives us a chance to continue moving in the right direction.”
Heywood Fralin has had a long and active relationship with UVA since his graduation in 1962. He has served on the Board of Visitors, as rector and vice rector, and is a current member of the VAF Board of Trustees. He has supported many initiatives at the University and within UVA athletics, including investments in Scott Stadium, John Paul Jones Arena, scholarships and operational budget enhancements for football and men’s basketball.
“This is an amazing gesture, and I am overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity and thoughtfulness from Cynthia and Heywood,” Mendenhall said. “Heywood’s vision and passion are only matched by his ability to blaze a path and set an example for others to follow. He has been a trusted friend, and his expectations and hopes for our football program are perfectly aligned with our goals and what we are accomplishing. This example of partnership shows what we can accomplish at Virginia in order to be a leader in college athletics.”
Under Williams, the department of athletics has enhanced support for the Virginia football program. The recently completed Phase I of the Athletics Master Plan included the creation of two new grass practice fields for the football program. Additional phases of the Master Plan are to include a new football operations center, a renovation of the McCue Center and a new Olympic Sports Center. The Fralin Family Head Football Coach endowment, and others that will follow, complement the capital projects to benefit UVA Athletics.
The VAF is the fundraising organization for UVA’s department of athletics. It is responsible for raising funds from alumni and friends to support UVA Athletics and its 27 varsity sports and more than 750 student-athletes. Commitments to endow and name the football assistant coaching positions are available for gifts starting at $500,000. For more information, contact the VAF.