JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Tuesday, the Jacksonville Jaguars continued their season-long celebration of their historic 25th season as well as the 100th anniversary of the National Football League with a special surprise for Englewood High School. Following a surprise introduction by former Jaguars CB and Englewood High School alumnus Rashean Mathis, the varsity football team was given a first look at the more than $100,000 renovation to their locker room. The entire football program, both varsity and junior varsity, was also invited to attend the Jaguars versus Saints game on Oct. 13 at TIAA Bank Field and stand on the sidelines for pregame festivities.
"This celebration of our 25th season and the NFL's 100th anniversary is a historic milestone for the entire community," said Jaguars President Mark Lamping. "Beyond the touchdowns and fan festivals, we wanted to leave a legacy for the next generation of Jaguars fans and players. We jumped at the chance to partner with one of our great local alumni in Rashean Mathis and give these young student-athletes a space where they can grow and succeed. We're grateful to all the partners who joined in to make this renovation a reality. This project underscores the connection that has been created and built in local communities by the NFL for 100 years and the Jaguars for the past 25 years."
The existing locker room was given a top to bottom makeover, including the installation of air conditioning, electrical outlets, rubber flooring, carpet and bathroom tile. Old plumbing and walls were torn down to make way for a new equipment room, which was filled with items including shoulder pads, gloves and compression shorts. The space was designed to emphasize the Rams' mascot and color scheme with all new paint, acrylic letter signage and vinyl graphics. A new speaker system was installed to allow for music on game day and the coaching offices were outfitted with new desks, chairs and tables. Every Englewood football player, varsity and junior varsity, received a personalized Jaguars football and T-shirt in addition to personal hygiene products.
"When the Jaguars called me with an idea to partner with Englewood High School to celebrate the 25th season, I immediately said, 'Whatever you need me to do, I'm in.'" said Mathis. "I walked these halls, sat in this locker room and grew up in this diverse neighborhood where families sacrifice every day to give their kids the opportunity to succeed. I'm grateful to the Jaguars and all the community partners for giving these student-athletes this incredible experience. Today we're going to change a life. I guarantee it."
The renovations were funded with $50,000 from the Jaguars Foundation and more than $80,000 in donated labor, building materials and new football equipment from multiple community partners, including:
Coastal Painting Services
Congaree and Penn
Mr. David's Flooring
Touchton Plumbing Contractors
The Jaguars are adopting Englewood High School for the duration of the 25th season. The partnership kicked off in August with a sponsored meal for all fall sport athletes courtesy of Dick's Wings. Throughout the remainder of the season, the Jaguars will engage with students through cheerleading clinics, financial aid guidance, career counseling and other football celebrations.
Former Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis, the Jaguars Foundation and Community Partners surprise Englewood high school football team with locker room renovation