Friday Night Football Magazine had Q&A sessions with three coaches to find out how the Custom Cover Project worked for their respective schools. Third-year Seagraves (Texas) coach Steve Heryford signed on for the Custom Cover Project for the first time in 2015.
Did you come up with the idea for the Custom Cover Project as a fundraiser to offset some flood damage in your community?
“We had committed to doing the cover project before the flood. Once the devastating, historic flood hit our community, we decided to donate some of the proceeds to Seagraves Flood Relief to help support and clean up the community.”
What made you decide to do the Custom Cover Project?
“I’ve been reading about high school football since I played in the 1980s. I love it. The last couple years, I think FNF has done the best job of covering the high school teams. I really took notice last year of teams getting great coverage, and they have the opportunity to get their team on the cover of their copies. A rep from FNF called and explained it to me, and it made sense.”
How did you pay for the magazines?
“We didn’t have to rely on magazine sales because I was able to sell ad space in the magazines that offset the cost before we ever received them. We made some money, and we’re still making money.”
Do you sell the magazine at games as the team program?
“No. We didn’t put our roster on it. Our booster club sold the magazines at games during the preseason. We finished in the state semifinals last year. When you make a run like that, you have fans from all over who want to support the team. Also, when you go deep in the playoffs, the players and fans want a memento. I think we’ll sell ever more in the playoffs this year.”
Was it difficult to sell ads in the magazine?
“Seagraves is located in Gaines County, which is the biggest cotton, peanut, and oil/gas producer in the state. I went to several places around town – peanut producers, insurance companies, restaurants. Everybody was real supportive of the school and students. I don’t think anybody told me no. Some told me they’d think about it. When they got back to me, I told them all of the ads were sold. It wasn’t real challenging. Our community gets behind our school activities.”
Did the players pay for their magazines?
“We were able to purchase a magazine for each player through our student activity fund.”
How much did you charge for magazines?
“I want to say we charged $10, and after a while, we dropped it to $5. We already made money through our sponsors, so we were clear before we ever sold a magazine. Everything else was extra.”
Would you do the Custom Cover Project again?
“Absolutely, I think we will. In a big town, I think it makes sense to do it every year. If you have 6,000 students, you could do that. We’re a small school, but I think we’ll do it periodically. I don’t want to ask the same businesses year after year. But the next time we’re playing good football and have a chance to do something special, we’ll do it again.”