Season in and season out, the student-athletes and coaching staff of Trinity’s 30 intercollegiate teams put in long hours of practice to achieve competitive excellence. For alumni, family, and friends, the fifth annual Trinity Athletic Giving (TAG) Week was, once again, a chance for fans to participate in a lively fundraising competition to support Bantam teams.
The 2023 TAG Week fundraising challenge, which ran from January 30 through February 6, surpassed previous years’ records with 2,200 donors raising $1,229,493 in gifts—a 3-percent increase in the number of donors and a 2-percent increase in total dollars, compared to the 2022 results.
“TAG Week has quickly become an important tradition for Bantam athletics,” said Women’s Rowing Head Coach Peter Graves ’07. “It is so gratifying as an alum and a head coach to see our alumni, parents, and friends come together to support our current students and teams. The contributions from our community help give our teams a competitive advantage through travel, equipment, training, competitive opportunities and more, and allow us to compete for titles on the national stage.”
For the fundraising competition, each team was assigned a donor participation goal, tracked by the number of alumni, family, and friends who gave to the team. Each team that reached its donor participation goal earned a $1,000 bonus prize. Additional $2,500 bonus prizes were awarded to two men’s teams and two women’s teams based on achieving highest donor participation—wrestling and women’s rowing—and most dollars raised—football and softball.
Josh Newsome ’95, P’22 and Benagh Richardson Newsome ’95, P’22 stepped forward as TAG Week alumni challengers, contributing funds for team bonus prizes. As student-athletes at Trinity, Josh played football and lacrosse, and was a member of the swimming and wrestling teams. Benagh played for four years on the women’s soccer team. Their daughter, Addie Newsome ’22, who played women’s lacrosse, represents the third generation of the family’s Bantam athletes; her aunt, Merrill Richardson ’92, played soccer and her grandfather, Rick Richardson ’60, played football, ran track, and played basketball.
“Trinity athletics has been such a big part of our families’ lives,” said Josh Newsome. “Benagh and I consider it an important part of the Trinity experience and we’re happy to be supportive. TAG Week is great because it’s about more than supporting Trinity—it’s about recognizing the positive effect sports have on student-athletes and helping to make sure our teams have the resources they need to compete.”
Additional alumni and family challengers offered dollar-to-dollar challenge matches to inspire support for favorite Bantam teams, including men’s and women’s squash, men’s basketball, men’s lacrosse, baseball, and volleyball. As well, numerous volunteers helped get the word out and advocate for TAG Week participation throughout their Trinity community networks.
Among more than 90 parent and alumni volunteers who made up the Trinity “TAG team” were Laura and George Bilicic P’21, ’24, parents of Henry Bilicic ’24, a member of the men’s tennis team, and Chris Bilicic ’21, who also played on the men’s tennis team and who served this year as a TAG Week alumni captain.
For both her sons, the tennis team has been a central part of their time at Trinity and some of their closest friendships are with teammates, said Laura Bilicic P’21, ’24. “Playing a college sport teaches you leadership, discipline, and commitment. It teaches you how to manage your time and balance your priorities. You learn accountability both for yourself and your teammates. It’s just an excellent platform for learning valuable lessons, which carry over to all aspects of life.”
About volunteering as TAG Week parent captains, Laura Bilicic added, “By reaching out to fellow parents, it was easy to help bring awareness that this particular week is important for our team, and it’s a great way to show solidarity and commitment to the team. It also just gave me a chance to introduce myself to other parents. It’s a short season and you don’t see other parents that much, so it was another touchpoint.”
The generous support that Bantam fans provide to Trinity teams through TAG Week and other athletic giving encourages and bolsters the achievements of Trinity’s student-athletes. Another important tradition that recognizes the rich history of the College’s athletic excellence began in 2018, when the College established the Trinity College Athletics Hall of Fame to honor and celebrate the generations of talent among both athletes and coaches who have built programs with formidable athletic legacies. Nominations are open until March 15, 2023, for the next round of Hall of Fame honorees, who will be inducted in fall 2023.
Read more about TAG Week 2023, learn about additional Trinity athletics giving opportunities that are part of Trinity’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, now in its leadership phase, or contact Director of Athletics Giving Shannon Malloy Rhatican M’13 at [email protected] or 860-297-4232 for more information.