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Wake Forest receives $20 million gift from alumnus Bob McCreary for its football program
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Wake Forest receives $20 million gift from alumnus Bob McCreary for its football program

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Wake Forest Spring game

Bob McCreary’s latest financial gift brings his total charitable investment in Wake Forest to nearly $55 million, according to school officials.

Wake Forest University announced Friday that it had received a $20 million gift from an alumnus that will help complete the school’s McCreary Football Complex, the university said in a news release.

Bob McCreary donated the money for the football complex that will include locker rooms, training rooms and common spaces, Wake Forest said. The university described McCreary as one of its most generous donors and the largest donor in Wake Forest Athletics history.

In 1957, McCreary came to Wake Forest from his home in rural Caldwell County thanks to a football scholarship he credits with transforming his life, the university said. More than six decades later, McCreary continues to invest in new generations of student-athletes while inspiring others to support the development of the Wake Forest football program.

“I am constantly thinking about the people and institutions that have helped me,” McCreary said. “Coming from where I came from to what I have today, I am so incredibly blessed to give back to the university that gave so much to me.”

The McCreary Football Complex, a 60,000-square-foot building, will connect to the McCreary Field House and the Sutton Sports Performance Center, the university said.

It will “foster camaraderie and team chemistry, while firmly establishing Wake Forest’s on-campus football facility infrastructure as one of America’s best,” Wake Forest said.

Wake Forest will honor McCreary at Saturday’s homecoming football game.

The complex will include locker space for 130 student athletes; a player lounge with a nutrition station, recovery area and an entertainment area; football athletic training and treatment space; an equipment center and loading dock and seating for 200 people for team meals, meetings, functions and other activities for Demon Deacon programs, the university said.

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The McCreary Football Complex will replace the Peahead Walker football locker room within the Pruitt Football Center. That locker room was built in 1988.

“This is about creating a home for the football players,” said McCreary, who has lifelong friendships with his Wake Forest teammates. “For these young men to be together and to share thoughts and ideas after a practice or a game is important. That is how you build relationships.”

Wake Forest Athletics has already raised $30 million for this $38 million total project price tag, which is intended to include all design, construction, maintenance and operational support, the university said. The McCreary Football Complex will be funded by donor gifts. No long-term debt will be incurred from this project.

McCreary’s latest gift brings his total charitable investment in Wake Forest to nearly $55 million, the university said.

“Bob McCreary is the ultimate champion for Wake Forest Athletics,” said John Currie, Wake Forest’s director of athletics. “While we are extraordinarily grateful for his financial support, Bob’s leadership role throughout the broader university community continues to inspire generations of Demon Deacons.”

McCreary credits Wake Forest professors, coaches and athletic trainer “Doc” Martin for much of his success at Wake Forest and beyond, the university said. He played professional football before starting a career in the furniture industry. In the 1980s, he and his wife, Michele, founded McCreary Modern, a North Carolina-based manufacturer of upholstered furniture.

“Bob McCreary’s personal story, generous spirit and passion for excellence continue to inspire the Wake Forest community,” Wake Forest President Susan R. Wente said.

McCreary received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016, and he was inducted into the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2008, he received the Gene Hooks Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors former athletes for their integrity, charity and leadership. In 2019, he was honored as an ACC football legend.

McCreary has watched the football program thrive under Coach Dave Clawson’s leadership. When asked how he felt about the Wake Forest football team’s current 7-0 record, McCreary said, “Elated.”

“Throughout my eight years at Wake Forest, Bob McCreary’s transformational leadership and generosity has helped build the foundation for our program to compete at the highest level,” Clawson said.

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