FOOTBALL: Port Charlotte wins grant to upgrade facilities

By Jordan Kroeger, SunCoast Sports

PORT CHARLOTTE — An eight-year plan has turned into a six-year plan for the Port Charlotte football program.

Two years after renovating their weight room, the Pirates are hoping to rebuild their locker room by the end of 2018 thanks to a grant they won from Leadership Charlotte back in May.

Port Charlotte competed against three other charities to see who could raise the most money for their cause to win a check from Leadership Charlotte.

The check headed Port Charlotte’s way was written for $35,000, about half of what the Pirates need to renovate the locker room. Coach Jordan Ingman, who took over the program in 2012, is hopeful construction will begin in January.

 “We went at it fullforce. We put all of our fundraisers and we channeled them all towards winning this competition and winning this grant. We won the grant and we won a big check. Thanks to Leadership Charlotte and Steve Linebury’s green team, we’re fired up,” Ingman said.

The goal when Ingman became coach was to renovate the weight room by the end of his fourth year and then the locker room by the end of his eighth. Instead, the weight room was done by year No. 3, which only sped up the process of rebuilding the locker room, which could now be done by the end of year No. 6.

“When we started it was an eight-year plan and it’s been accelerated. The first phase we got to quicker,” Ingman said.

Port Charlotte’s quest to compete for the grant didn’t start out quite so well.

Leadership Charlotte was looking for four charities they would select, all of which would be assigned a particular color. Ingman wrote a big proposal, submitted it to one of those colors and was rejected right off the bat. He tried again, this time with the “green team,” and was accepted as a charity.

Once chosen as a charity, Port Charlotte was in competition with the Homeless Coalition, Boys & Girls Club and Crossroads Ammo for who could raise the most money for their cause. Whoever raised the most money would get 50 percent of the profit raised come May 20 at an event dinner.

As everyone ate dinner that night, a big “horse race” was put up on a screen that showed the amount of money each color had donated. The results moved lived that night as people continued to donate to their cause of choice, and luckily for the Pirates, they ended up winning.

“Our kids don’t get to take pride in a lot of things. A lot of our guys come from tough upbringings and we’re really hoping this is something they can be really, really proud of, so that’s our goal,” Ingman said.

Ingman says his team will fundraise the rest of the money needed to rebuild a locker room that hasn’t been touched since it opened in 1981. The Pirates hold at least one fundraiser a month, with date night tickets serving as July’s moneymaker.

“We’re not one to ever complain about our facilities. We’re always thankful for what we’ve got,” Ingman said. “We’ve got a beautiful weight room, it’s state of the art and that’s where we spend the majority of our time anyways. It’s something we’re extremely excited about for the kids. We’re thankful for what we have right now but we’re always trying to find a way to make things better around here.”

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