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Current and former JMU football players are chiming in about the Bridgeforth Stadium expansion.
John DeFilippo ('99)
Former JMU quarterback
Assistant QB coach for the N.Y. Jets
"This project shows the university's continued support of the football program that we all are so proud of. Not only will this project enhance the overall setting and enjoyment for Dukes' fans, it will also allow coach Mickey Matthews and his staff to keep recruiting the types of student-athletes we need to represent JMU both on and off the football field. A project this size could definitely not happen without the whole university community being involved, and President Rose and Jeff Bourne should be commended for such effort."
"It looks cool, it looks too real to be true and very big for the space where it is going to fit. The crowd does a lot for us. This is the best crowd I've ever played in front of, considering on the road and at home, it has done a lot for me to hear them cheer for us, win or lose. It's great that there will be more tickets for our friends and family. And playing in front of a large crowd gives us more confidence to play that much harder."
Sophomore strong safety
"We watched the YouTube video about the expansion about 50 times and tried to picture ourselves playing in the new stadium. We talk about it at lunch, in the locker room, whenever we get a chance. Playing in front of a bigger home crowd will be icing on the cake. It will be big time."
Joe Carico ('78, '81M)
Former defensive back
Harrisonburg High School athletics director
"I am very proud to be a part of JMU's football heritage as both a former player and a coach under Challace McMillin. As a freshman member of the first varsity team in 1974, I was proud that Madison College was the first Virginia college to get an artificial playing surface. We thought that was awesome! However, the plans and pictures of the new stadium with all of its amenities far surpass my utmost hopes and dreams for the JMU program. In less than 40 years we have come a long way from our green wooden bleachers."
"The expansion will make it more available for people to come see the Dukes' show and add more excitement to the game. From a booster standpoint, they really don't have a luxury area. I know they put them in nice seats now, but it will add a little more prestige to the whole program. We really have a pro-Dukes crowd here and knowing that your team and your fans are behind you only helps you elevate your play."
Chip Parkins ('77)
Former Madison cornerback
"There are so many great memories from that first team and my whole Madison Experience. One of the best from that first season was "Uncle Ron," President Carrier's pep talk at the end of our 0-0-1 first season. "Boys, you've done a good job with little time to get here. I'm proud of you and you've left room for improvement. Maybe we can score next year!" ... 0-0-1 doesn't show how hard we worked that year. We had 28 players, and five did not play; so 23 guys were working hard. I played 13 positions in one game, and we had to carry the trainer off the field one time when he tripped and hurt himself. The name of the first play ever was "Duke, Right: 26-Power," and I got the ball for the first carry. ... I was in Chattanooga in 2004 to see the national championship. I cannot express the emotions I felt when I realized we were going to win a championship just 30 years after we started a program from scratch. How many teams have a player who carried the first ball in a program's history watch his team win a national championship? I was teary-eyed."
Rodney McCarter ('04)
JMU police officer
Former safety/corner-back and 2004 National Champions
"The stadium expansion is a very big deal. Playing in front of big crowds is what athletes dream about. I remember playing in front of a big crowd at the JMU vs. Delaware game in 2004. The atmosphere was incredible! It actually makes you play a little harder when there is a big crowd. Getting more fans into the game to cheer on the Dukes will help the football program. It will also help with recruiting better players and winning more games."
Tell us what it means to you at www.facebook.com/jamesmadisonuniversity.