Vivian donates lead gift to BGSU hockey campaign

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Jack Vivian can claim another first for Bowling Green State University’s Hockey program.

Vivian was the first varsity coach of the Falcons when they took to the ice in 1967. Saturday, he became the first person to make a major donation to the new fundraising campaign to support hockey and the University’s ice arena.

Vivian and his wife Elaine have made a contribution of $250,000 to the “Bring Back the Glory Campaign.” The campaign launched in October, will raise $5 million to endow scholarships for the program and enhance the Ice Arena.

The University announced the gift at a reception honoring the 1969 and 1984 Falcon teams prior to Saturday’s game versus Alaska.

“Jack Vivian established hockey at BGSU and has been a tremendous supporter over the years,” said BGSU President Carol Cartwright. “I don’t think anyone is surprised that he was the first to step forward with a gift for the campaign. We greatly appreciate his leadership and passion for the program.”

Scott Hamilton, the Bowling Green native and Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, is serving as honorary chair of the campaign.  Garry Galley and Mike Pikul, members of BGSU’s 1984 National Championship team, have reunited to co-chair the campaign.

In addition to helping develop the Falcon program, Vivian was instrumental in establishing the Central Collegiate Hockey Association and served as its first commissioner. He is CEO of JRV Consulting, a firm specializing in ice arena construction, operation and management.

“I cannot imagine BGSU and the community without hockey,” Vivian said. “That is why Elaine and I want to continue to support the program and work in concert with the University, former players and the community to restore the arena to its former status so the next generation can enjoy skating and hockey.”

According to Marcia Sloan Latta, interim vice president for University advancement who is overseeing the campaign, Vivian has gotten the campaign off to a solid start.

“Jack’s gift represents much more than just a financial contribution,” Latta said. “He understands the rich history of our program and what it means both to the University and the City of Bowling Green. He is well respected by our former players, alumni and supporters. With Jack’s backing, I think we’ll see an outpouring of support from the hockey community.”

Vivian began his career at BGSU as an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. As head coach of the Falcons, he compiled an impressive 112-62-10 record during his six years behind the bench.

He left BGSU in 1973 for professional hockey. He was the General Manager of the Cleveland Crusaders from 1973-76 and coached the club in 1974. In 1976, Vivian joined the New York Islanders and served as a scout. During his tenure, the Islanders won four straight Stanley Cup Championships.

While scouting for the Islanders, Vivian worked at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, at the Compuware Hockey Club in Birmingham, Mich., and as the executive director of the Hancock Recreation Center in Findlay, Ohio.

He returned to BGSU in 1986 as an assistant professor teaching courses in sports management, marketing, promotions, facility operations and management.

Vivian joined the University of Michigan in 1989 and founded and directed the Sport Facilities Research Laboratory and Annual School of Ice Arena Management. He was also an assistant professor in the Division of Kinesiology and the Department of Sports Management and Communication

According to Cartwright, four million dollars appropriated by the state and the University will aid in the renovation of the Ice Arena to upgrade the compressors, chillers and infrastructure. According to Latta, additional improvements will be considered based on the Ice Arena's business performance and the interest of private donors in supporting the arena.

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(Posted November 14, 2009 )