Former ODU quarterback Thomas DeMarco returns to campus as an athletic fund raiser
Old Dominion’s first quarterback is returning to campus.
Thomas DeMarco, who played for the Monarchs from 2009-2011 and for four years in the Canadian Football League, has been hired as a development officer for the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation, focusing on bringing in major gifts, the school announced Wednesday.
DeMarco will be responsible for securing gifts toward funding of a new football stadium as well as for scholarships and other “facility and program needs,” ODAF said in a news release.
The school also announced the promotion of Drew Turner to associate athletic director for development. Turner will serve as chairman of future fundraising campaigns and will oversee the field hockey and sailing programs. He chaired the search committee that hired DeMarco, who had worked as a mortgage lender and in real estate sales in addition to playing in the CFL.
“Through the recruitment process, what separated Thomas from the rest of the field was his relentless pursuit of excellence and his passion for Old Dominion University,” Turner said in the release. “Thomas will be tremendous in helping grow our ODAF membership and will be a terrific advocate for ODU Athletics.”
DeMarco arrives at a critical time, with ODU planning a $55 million renovation and expansion of 80-year-old Foreman Field. The project, which is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2019 season, will be done without raising student fees.
ODU’s athletic budget is also being strained by a drop in television revenues from Conference USA and the payment of stipends to cover the full cost of attendance for football and men’s and women’s basketball players.
“The need for private funding for intercollegiate athletics has never been greater than what we face today,” athletic director Wood Selig said.
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS ON Injuries
A week and a half into fall training camp, the Monarchs have found a rhythm that, so far, is keeping them healthy and fresh.
ODU’s practices have been brisk and efficient, usually lasting about 90 minutes. Though it’s preseason, coach Bobby Wilder is following an in-season schedule.
Thursday practices are known as “no-sweat,” with the Monarchs conducting a non-contact walk-through that takes about an hour.
“When you do those things, it really helps (players) get their body back during camp,” Wilder said. “This is exactly where I had hoped we would be at this point in training camp.”
One exception is tailback Ray Lawry.
The Monarchs’ career rushing leader tweaked his hamstring on a touchdown run in a scrimmage Sunday and has been held out of practice this week.
“It’s very minor,”Wilder said. “If we were playing a game, he’d be playing right now.”
DISCOUNTED SEASON TICKETS GO ON SALE
With a few hundred season tickets to be sold and two and a half weeks remaining until the season opener Sept. 2, ODU announced a promotion Wednesday: Buy a season ticket at the regular price of $199 and get a second ticket for $112.
ODU has sold out all 54 games in school history played at Foreman Field. In recent seasons, however, it has taken more time and effort to sell out season tickets as the novelty of football has worn off and the stadium’s lack of amenities has tested the patience of some.
Selling individual game tickets has also become more difficult, and ODU has more available this season because North Carolina asked to have 2,000 set aside for its fans when the Tar Heels agreed to play here.
Expect more promotions to sell single-game seats once they become available as ODU pushes to keep its steak alive.