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Donation Campaign for Biletnikoff Field Sign

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Make your donation now to support the replacement of the signage at Biletnikoff Field at Erie High!

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From the Erie Times-News article, Design set for new sign at Erie’s Biletnikoff Field published 01/06/2020.

Fred Biletnikoff is best known for wearing silver and black — the colors of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, with whom he enjoyed a Pro Football Hall of Fame career as a wide receiver.

But soon other colors will be associated with Biletnikoff and the athletic field that bears his name behind Erie High School. Those colors are purple and gold.

They are the colors of Erie High, formerly known as Erie Technical Memorial High School, where Biletnikoff, an Erie native, was a 1961 graduate.

Purple and gold — as well as the silver and black of Biletnikoff’s Raiders’ uniform — highlight the design of the new sign that the Erie School Board has approved. It will replace the worn design that has been on the sign at the far end of Biletnikoff Field, along Peach and Chestnut streets, for 29 years. The sign marks the practice field for the Erie Royals football team and other Royals sports teams.

“Fred deserves this honor,” said Jim Zbach, a 1981 Tech Memorial graduate who designed the sign and who is president of the Erie-based Great Lakes Raiders Boosters Club. “His accomplishments are nothing short of astonishing.”

“Doing this, I believe, can help increase confidence in Erie High students that greatness is possible, that greatness runs in their educational bloodlines,” said Zbach, 56, who said he became a Raiders fan because of Biletnikoff.

The front of the new sign, facing Peach Street, features a large image of Biletnikoff catching a pass as a Raider, along with the words, “Biletnikoff Field” and “Home of the Erie Royals,” with the Royals logo. Smaller signs along the sides of the front of the installation — the current brick foundation will remain — detail Biletnikoff’s accomplishments and provide information about the sign committee.

The back of the sign, facing the practice field, features an image from a photograph of Biletnikoff as a Raider, signaling No. 1 with his right index finger. That image is meant to inspire the players on the practice field, to let them know that they can “be the best that they can be,” said Kissell, 76.

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