MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Columbia High School (CHS) football fans will see something new when the Cougars take the field Saturday for their home opener.
Not just new players on the roster, but a new scoreboard out beyond one end zone.
The $19,000 state-of-the-art signage is the gift of the CHS Class of 1965, according to Athletic Director Larry Busichio.
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“We had wanted to purchase something that had more ‘pop’ up at Underhill for a while, but I’m sure you can imagine those boards are expensive,” Busichio said via email.
He credited Tommy Bass, a 1965 CHS graduate, and other members of that class for donating more than half of the funds for the new red and white creation.
“He came to me and said his class wanted to make a large donation to something for athletics that would stand out for everyone,” Busichio said. “I suggested a scoreboard and they loved the idea. With money donated from their class and extra funds I had saved, we were able to make it happen. It looks great and we plan to have some members of the class of ’65 at our football game this Saturday to thank them.”
Bass said he asked members of his graduating class to donate what they could and came up with about $11,000 for the project.
“We sent a letter out to the class,” he explained. “About 65 or 70 donated.”
He said there is still a large group of alum from his senior year that remain in touch and after their 50th reunion two years ago many wanted to do more: “I still get together with about 10 guys every month, we go out to lunch at Charlie Brown’s.”
“We wanted to do something to give back to our school that gave us friendship and education and health,” added Bass, who also serves on the CHS Hall of Fame Committee. “The greatest gift is friendship.”
Saturday’s game against East Orange is set for 1 p.m at Lynn Profeta Field at Underhill Sports Complex.