I kind of hate to go to them for anything because we’re constantly asking for something. But they never hesitate.” STUMP MITCHELL, Southern football coach
In 2010, soon after Stump Mitchell and his coaching staff arrived as Southern, Charles Wells paid them a visit and found one basic but glaring need.
“They didn’t have any garbage cans,” Wells said. “A couple of coaches were telling me, ‘We’ve got to get some garbage cans.’ ”
So Wells did what any well-intentioned Jaguars fan would do. He and his wife went out and bought garbage cans, slapped the coaches’ names on the sides and delivered them.
When Wells went back by the offices with his friend Willie Hughes, they noticed the coaches didn’t have any SU shirts to wear while recruiting. So they bought those, too.
Thus, A Nation of Dominance (ANOD) was born.
That’s what Wells and Hughes — who usually go by their nicknames, “Chuckie” and “Big Willie” — decided to call the Southern booster club they founded before Mitchell’s inaugural season. And as Wells is quick to point out, they’re just a drop in the bucket.
ANOD has since grown to 12 members, becoming another reliable organization alongside more-seasoned groups like the SU Quarterback Club, Blue & Gold Century Club and Sixth Man Club.
“Those guys do so much for Southern athletics, all of the groups,” Mitchell said. “All of them support all of the various programs around here, and I kind of hate to go to them for anything because we’re constantly asking for something. But they never hesitate. There’s not much that those groups don’t do, to tell you the truth.”
A few examples.
When his annual golf tournament wasn’t as big a success as he hoped for, Mitchell asked the Blue & Gold Club for help. The club took over and made it more successful.
When Mitchell wanted to put on a football banquet, he said the Quarterback Club was happy to oblige, complete with letterman jackets.
ANOD took on the task of providing the Jaguars with ice tubs after all 21 practices during preseason camp — getting Reddy Ice to donate nearly 1,000 pounds of ice per day and expanding its fleet of tubs from two to seven by this fall.
The groups also pitch in to feed the team, whether with big events like ANOD’s Thanksgiving meal or smaller contributions like snacks, watermelons and ice pops.
And there are a host of other organizations working on The Bluff to boost a wide range of other sports, too, like the Hardwood Club, Sixth Man Club and another group dedicated to Southern baseball, to name a few. Then there are newer start-ups, like the Human Jukebox Alumni Association, to support the school’s band, and the Southern University Football Alumni Association (SUFAA), which Mitchell said has discussed plans that include improvements to the team’s practice fields and a mentoring program.
The groups have lined up to help out SU’s cash-strapped athletic department — a welcome sight for Athletic Director William Broussard.
He said the groups serve three major functions: serving as ambassadors for Southern in the community, providing budget relief by taking over initiatives like the ice tubs, and donating and raising funds directly.
“With those three functions in mind, you can imagine as an athletic director that when booster groups call and say, ‘Hey, can you come spend some time with us?’ — when they provide that kind of value and service to the program, my answer is going to be yes every time that I’m literally available to be there,” Broussard said.
Two SU booster groups will hold fundraisers soon.
ANOD’s annual fish fry will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Gate 11 of A.W. Mumford Stadium. Plates will cost $7 and include three large pieces of filet fish, potato salad, peas and rolls.
The Human Jukebox Alumni Association will hold its fundraiser during homecoming weekend Oct. 13. Information is available on their website at www.humanjukebox.com/outreach.