Some 90 members of VMI’s track alumni gathered to personally deliver a surprise to Mike Bozeman, their former coach, Feb. 24, 2018. For several months, a committee of former track athletes under the direction of Doug Bartlett, Keydet Club vice president, quietly conducted an effort to build an initiative to both thank Bozeman and offer financial support to VMI’s track program: The Coach Mike and Carol Bozeman Track and Field Scholarship.
Under the guise of visiting Lexington in conjunction with the Southern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship hosted in VMI’s new Corps Physical Training Facility, Bozeman and his family were invited to an after-meet social at the Lexington Golf & Country Club. There, after brief remarks by Meade King ’85, chief operating officer of the Keydet Club, and Dr. Dave Diles, VMI director of intercollegiate athletics, Bozeman was caught completely by surprise as several of his athletes presented the scholarship. After regaining his footing, Bozeman delighted the gathering with tales from his years coaching at VMI.
Throughout his 23-year career, Bozeman and his talented teams captured 12 Southern Conference titles, numerous individual athlete records and accolades and he was named SoCon Coach of the Year 13 times. By any measure, few have been more impactful on the development of cadet-athletes or more zealous in support of the VMI spirit.
A former track athlete said it best when it comes to Bozeman: “Take a few moments to think back on all the experiences your time as a VMI track athlete afforded you. Although some of us span different eras in the track program history and may have slightly different memories, the common denominator for all of us is the mentorship of Coach Bozeman. For some of us, he made good athletes great. For others, he saw a diamond in the rough that was overlooked. For many of us, he just plain recognized someone who would benefit from the type of life experiences and self-realization that can only come from challenging yourself to be the best you can be on and off the track! For all of us he was not only coach but an advocate and mentor.”
As a scholarship that now exists in perpetuity, donations may be made by anyone and at any time to the Coach Mike and Carol Bozeman Track Scholarship.