An 1,800-pound bronze bear statue, a gift to Mercer from retired businessman Irwin Belk, was installed Monday near the main gate to Five Star Stadium.
Gregory Johnson, of Cumming, created the sculpture, which is more than 10 feet long.
“Thanks to the generosity of Irwin Belk and the craftsmanship of Gregory Johnson, this statue is going to completely change the entrance to Five Star Stadium on game day,” senior associate director of athletics and executive director of the Mercer Athletic Foundation said Brian Gerrity said in a release. “It will be a focal point for pictures and a place to rally around.”
The statue was sculpted from 500 pounds of clay and sent to Eagle Bronze foundry in Wyoming, which made a mold and cast it in bronze. The lifelike grizzly joins Mercer’s five-year-old bronze statue of a fully upright bear that stands in Cruz Plaza.
“What I attempt to do when I sculpt is make the sculptures so lifelike that they look like they can get down off of their settings,” Johnson said. “This bear will give strength to our team and make the opponent tremble with fear.”
Mercer opens practice Wednesday.