The F.M. Kirby Foundation has donated $2 million to the College to endow the position of head football coach. The position, which is occupied by Frank Tavani in his 14th year, will now carry the title Fred M. Kirby II ’42 Head Football Coach.
Funds from the endowment will be used for football coaches’ salaries, football operations, and/or football scholarships, and can also be slotted for strength and conditioning, sports medicine, or academic support.
The endowment pays tribute to Fred Kirby’s lifelong loyalty to Lafayette’s football program. A member of the College’s undefeated 1940 team, he remained a tireless and devoted supporter of the program as an alumnus, providing encouragement to the players and coaches, supporting the program financially, and aiding in the renovation of the football stadium.
Under Kirby’s leadership, his family foundation continued a legacy of extraordinary support of Lafayette begun by his grandfather, Fred Morgan Kirby, and carried on by his father, Allan Price Kirby ’15. The support is most evident on campus in the Kirby Professorship in Civil Rights, Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, Kirby House, and Kirby Sports Center, but it has touched and benefited generations of Lafayette students and faculty in ways that reach far beyond these highly visible signs.
Following his death in February 2011, Fred Kirby’s football jersey number 53 was retired, the first such honor at Lafayette. The locker with that number in Bourger Varsity Football House includes a tribute to his dedication to the program.
Kirby’s commitment to college football was further reflected in his involvement with the National Football Foundation, which promotes the sport at the amateur level and oversees the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2000, he received the National Football Foundation Gold Medal, the foundation’s highest honor.
“The establishment of this endowment is fitting tribute to Fred Kirby’s passion and love for the game of college football and for his alma mater. It will have a significant impact on the lives of Lafayette student-athletes for generations,” says Bruce McCutcheon, director of athletics. “We are so grateful that the F.M. Kirby Foundation and the Kirby family continue to share their time, talent, and treasure with the Lafayette student-athletes and the greater Lafayette community.”