With UNC Pembroke’s new era football team practicing in the distance, the University dedicated the stadium’s Legacy Courtyard on April 5 to Curt Locklear, one of its first players, and his wife, Catherine.
Curt and Katherine Locklear with Chancellor Allen C. Meadors (right) at the April 5 dedication.
Just out of military service, Locklear led the Braves first football team in 1947 into gridiron competition. He graduated in 1949 and later founded Pembroke Hardware, a successful hardware and building supply business.
Locklear and his wife, Catherine, had nine children who run the company today and have founded some successful enterprises, including Sheff’s Seafood Restaurant, Southeastern Veterinary Clinic and Metcon, Inc., the general contractor for UNCP’s new Bob Caton Fieldhouse.
A part of the stadium’s second construction phase, the Legacy Courtyard is located between the new fieldhouse and the stadium and will greet football fans as they enter. Also dedicated was “Curt Locklear Stadium Drive,” the entrance to the stadium off University Drive.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors thanked the Locklears and their children and grandchildren who were assembled.
“Any time we are able to recognize individuals who are so important to this University and community, it is an important day,” Chancellor Meadors said. “This courtyard and the stadium drive are fitting places for the Locklear name. It will be a lasting legacy to a man who helped start football here.”
Athletic Director Dan Kenney said, “the size of a ship and a man can be measured in the size of the wake that follows them. Mr. Curt has left a great wake.”
Dr. Curt Locklear Jr., of Southeastern Veterinary Clinic and Curt Sr.’s son, said the Locklear family has deep ties to the University.
“Our mother delivered bottled milk to the University, and Daddy worked with Walter Pinchbeck at the old Graded School,” Dr. Locklear said. “When Mr. Pinchbeck moved to the University, Daddy helped him plant the oak trees on Old Main Drive.
“UNCP has been instrumental in the growth of this community, and Curt and Catherine were involved in that growth,” he continued. “Both Momma and Daddy knew that education is the key to a successful life. They are ambassadors for this University and have supported it in many ways.”
Long time friend and teammate, Rev. Vardell Swett remembered old times.
“Curt was the quarterback, and he liked to throw the ball to me,” Rev. Swett said. “He played the game with a lot of heart, enthusiasm and grace. The Locklears are wonderful people.”
Curt Locklear Sr. also spoke on the subject of football.
“The college had a great idea to bring football back,” he said. “I think the time is right.”
The new era Braves football team will kick-off at the first Black and Gold spring game on Lumbee Guaranty Bank Field at 3:45 p.m., Friday, April 20.
For additional information about the First and Ten Campaign for Football and Athletic Excellence, please contact the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.