The central mission behind the creation of the East Coast Bowl is to increase the visibility and showcase the talent of athletes from the Division I-FCS, II, III and NAIA level. Accolades for football players from these levels are scarce and limited and this proves to be another avenue for Division I-FCS, II, III and NAIA college football players to reach their goals.
Other elements that define the mission of the East Coast Bowl include: the redevelopment and renovation of Historic Cameron Field, and the establishment of the East Coast Scholarship Program.
Fulfilling its mission to help students lead lives of active learning, positive relationships, personal growth and to promote the values of high school and college football led the Commonwealth Chapter of The National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame and the City of Petersburg to develop and implement an idea for a small college All-star football game. That idea evolved into the East Coast Bowl and came to fruition on November 24, 2001 when the first East Coast Bowl was played.
This game has made a difference for many young men with many former players now competing on the professional level. It is our goal to use this game as a prototype for other National Football Foundation Chapters to emulate. The game brings the best Division II, Division III, and NAIA college football players from across the country to Petersburg, VA to compete against each other in a North versus South format. With a yearlong calendar of events geared toward promoting the game of amateur football and its vital character-building attributes, this game serves as an opportunity to place the spotlight on young people who participate because of their pure love for the game. They, as we, recognize that athletic competition can serve as a teacher of many of life’s most valuable lessons.
The most memorable aspects of the game include the time spent with those who are less fortunate. Each year players routinely visit local community centers, children’s hospitals, and convalescent homes. Without a doubt this seems to be a highlight, not only for the individuals that the athletes visit, but for the players as well. The East Coast Bowl also serves as a scholarship program for local High School seniors. Graduating seniors that have made the decision to attend a Division II, Division III or NAIA school are eligible to apply for our scholarship.
The East Coast Bowl is entering its fifth year of operation and continues to be a monumental event for the City of Petersburg, VA. Small college football players are consistently over-looked and under-appreciated and this game offers a platform for small college football players to gain further recognition and showcase their abilities to professional scouts.