It began in 1993 when the University of Minnesota, Crookston transitioned from a two-year technical college to a four-year baccalaureate degree granting institution. Then director of athletics Marv Bachmeier and director of external relations Al Larson recognized the need for an organization to help raise money for athletic scholarships. The two brainstormed a number of times before a committee was formed, including members of both the campus and community, and through that committee, UMC Teambackers was born.
"We had a lot of obligations with our own roles on campus, but we also knew we had to find a way to provide scholarships for our athletes," Bachmeier said. "Al and I understood the significance, and we looked at what others were doing and engaged people on campus and in the community who could help provide leadership."
After 18 years as an athletic trainer, Bill Tyrrell took over as director of athletic fundraising in 2005 and works closely with Teambackers. "For a number of students, excelling in sport is the door to a college education," Tyrrell said. "It is our goal to help those students continue to compete in the sport they love and to succeed academically. We appreciate every Teambacker member for their support and the difference they make in the lives of our student-athletes."
To mark their 20th year Teambackers is planning a number of anniversary events. They will kick off the start of their 20-year celebration on Thursday, August 23, when members and their guests will have an opportunity to meet Chancellor Fred Wood and Golden Eagle student-athletes during a special event designed to honor the history of UMC Teambackers.