Murray State Alumni Tommy & Sandy Draffen Make Transformative Gift to “Clear the Track” Campaign

Launched in tandem with the start of the Coach Dean Hood era, the “Clear the Track” campaign has received gifts and pledges totaling nearly $800,000 to date

The Murray State Athletics Department has received a new transformative six-figure commitment to the “Clear the Track” fundraising campaign in support of the Racer Football program.  Murray State alumni Tommy & Sandy Draffen have made a $100,000 gift, reinforcing their support of Coach Dean Hood, his staff and the young men who develop within the Racer Football program.

“Shortly after Coach Dean Hood‘s introductory press conference on December 14, 2019, I connected with Kevin Saal to congratulate him and express my appreciation for the hiring process and wisdom to bring a coach of such high character to Murray State University,” Draffen said.  “After meeting personally with Kevin and Coach Hood a couple of weeks later and learning more about Coach Hood’s transformative whole-person student-athlete development program and the vision for Murray State Football, we made a commitment to support them in this important, special and promising program.  We are very impressed by the leadership and vision shared by Dr. Bob Jackson, Kevin Saal and Coach Hood to bring championship caliber football back to Murray State.  Not only that, but the vision for the future of Racer athletics across all disciplines is something we are excited about.  Sandy and I encourage alumni to strongly consider supporting Murray State Football, which in turn will produce resources to support the growth and development of 330 student-athletes in all 15 sports programs. This will help raise the regional and national profile of Murray State University which will benefit not only the student athletes but the entire student body, administration and the community.”

Tommy Draffen, a native of Mayfield, Kentucky, graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in applied math.  Sandy, also a native of Mayfield, earned a Bachelor of Science in occupational safety and health in 1989. Currently residing outside of Los Angeles, California, Tommy & Sandy have championed development of young people throughout their lives, serving prominent roles in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, coaching high school football and serving their local community.

Murray State is committed to growing resources for Racer Football by combining new football revenue generated through season tickets, premium seating sales and multimedia partnerships. In addition to these revenue streams, Racer Athletics aspires to provide $250,000 in new, recurring annual funds with 4-year pledges obtained through the “Clear the Track” campaign to match resources to expectations and support a consistent championship-level program.

“From the moment I first spoke with Tommy in December of 2019, I sensed an alignment and shared passion for the development of young people and programs,” said MSU Director of Athletics Kevin Saal.  “Head Coach Dean Hood‘s early (and continued) visionary leadership of our football program authentically resonated with the Draffen Family. Tommy and Sandy’s genuine care for, and commitment to the whole-person development of our student-athletes is unmatched.  We are blessed to journey with the Draffens and remain incredibly appreciative of their generosity and support, further strengthening Murray State University’s prominent national brand.”

Launched in tandem with Dean Hood‘s hiring as the head football coach in December of 2019, the “Clear the Track” campaign has received gifts and pledges approaching $800,000 to date.  Currently, the total per year commitment (over the next four years) is nearly $200,000 in new resources to support Racer Football.  All private funds contributed to the campaign directly support Racer Football in several critical areas including but not limited to facility upgrades, nutrition, recruiting and equipment.

“Tommy and Sandy have been true friends and partners in our program’s and young men’s developmental journey,” said MSU football head coach Dean Hood.  “Their passion for Murray State is both genuine and authentic.  We cannot thank the Draffen Family enough for journeying with us as we transform Murray State Football into an efficient and effective developer of men, and a consistent championship-level football program.”

Individuals interested in partnering with Murray State Athletics to support the Racer Football program through the “Clear the Track” initiative should contact Taylor Mudd( for further information.

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