Norton-Tolley Press Box Dedicated
Ferrum College officials and guests participated in the dedication of the new Norton-Tolley Press Box at the W.B. Adams Stadium at the football home opener against Shenandoah University last fall. The facility is named in honor of Hank Norton, Ferrum head football coach, educator, and athletic director from 1960 to 1993, and in memory of Rick Tolley, former Ferrum assistant coach who later became head football coach at Marshall University in West Virginia.
Norton led Ferrum to four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) football titles in the mid-1960s and ’70s, and his 1966 team was NJCAA national runner-up. In the early 1970s Norton helped in the transition from a junior college athletic program to the NCAA Division III ranks when Ferrum became a four-year college. He guided the Ferrum College Panthers football team to several NCAA playoff berths and to national semifinal appearances in 1988 and 1989. Norton closed his 34 seasons at Ferrum with a
244-76-1 (.735) career coaching mark.
Tolley, Norton’s first full-time assistant football coach, was in his inaugural season at the helm of the Marshall Thundering Herd program when an airplane carrying most of the football team and coaches, including Tolley, crashed on Nov. 14, 1970, near Huntington, West Virginia, killing all 75 passengers. The incident is one of the worst sports-related tragedies in U.S. history and was memorialized in the 2006 film We Are Marshall starring Matthew McConaughey.
Ferrum College President Jennifer Braaten expressed gratitude to generous benefactors whose designated contributions to the current Centennial Campaign made the new press box possible, and to College staff who worked tirelessly to finish the project in time for the opener. “This represents the capstone of our Hank Norton Center that was completed last year,” said Braaten. “The entire Norton complex is now one of the top student athletic facilities in the state and one of which our Ferrum College family can be proud.”
The Norton-Tolley Press Box, fronted by 60 reserved club seats, encompasses 1,650 square feet of space on two levels, including a President’s suite and a concession stand on the first level. The second level, featuring staff work space and enclosed media booths, is flanked by outdoor decks overlooking Adams Field for coaches and film crews.