KEARNEY — University of Nebraska at Kearney football held the 10th annual Loper Football Backers dinner and scholarship fundraiser Tuesday night at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.
The Lopers raised over $200,000 through a live auction, silent auction, raffle items and a scholarship ask.
They also awarded tight end Kyler Van Housen with a $5,000 scholarship for his redshirt junior year next season and honored former student-athletes and former head coach Darrell Morris
“Overall, (there was) great support,” coach Josh Lynn said. “A lot of UNK football alumni were back. It’s just a great night for UNK football as always.”
The money raised Tuesday is a portion of the necessarily funds needed to provide as close to the NCAA maximum limit of 36 football scholarships.
The Lopers have increased their scholarship total each year. They will have 34.7 scholarships this year, which is significantly more than the 20.77 scholarships they provided in 2012.
The average amount of scholarships distributed by the other 11 MIAA programs is 33.398.
Since the inception of the event, it has raised over $1.73 million towards student-athlete scholarships and other program needs.
The Lopers posted a 5-6 record last season. It was their best mark since they finished 10-2 and qualified for the Division II playoffs in their final year as a member of the Rockey Mountain Athletic Conference in 2011.
The Lopers are trending upwards under Lynn. They won three game in Lynn’s first season in 2017, before flirting with a winning record last year. They started last season with a 4-2 mark before dropping four of their final five games.
They return a bulk of last season’s roster and begin preseason practice in August. Their first game is at Missouri Southern on Sept. 5.
“I think that was pretty evident that there’s more excitement after last season,” Lynn said. “I think there’s a general excitement just not tonight but also moving up to tonight.”