Their conversation slowly drifted to other community members looking for activities in the summer and the idea of a summer team in Athens and southern Ohio started to gain momentum. It really picked up when Joe Carbone, head baseball coach at OU, recommended the Great Lakes Collegiate Summer League because it was coming to town for a weekend in the summer of 2001. Bob Wren Stadium (home park for OU baseball) in Athens played host to an exhibition game between Team USA and the Great Lakes League All Stars on July 15. Nearly 1,000 fans came out to enjoy a day of summer baseball, and the game was by all accounts a success. Kreutzer was encouraged by the game, "We received a lot of really positive feedback from the all star game and the success led us to believe that Southern Ohio would support a team." Slowly, the group started to grow through phone calls and recruitment. John Wharton, chairman of the board of directors, was recruited because of his ties to OU baseball. "I have been a lead fundraiser for the OU team, I'm friends with Coach Carbone and I've always been a big supporter of local baseball," said Wharton. Dave Palmer, owner of WXTQ/WATH, wasn't involved at the very beginning, but after seeing the exhibition game and talking to some community members, he jumped in because he saw a hole in the region's summer schedule. "The summer months here are slower paced and more relaxed," Palmer said. "I saw this as an opportunity to bring an athletic event to the summer months that will really enrich the region's life." With a full roster of 23 business, academic and community leaders in place, the group decided to come together formally at the end of the summer and create an organizational structure. The non profit organization lists three goals for the team:  Provide family entertainment in southern Ohio,  Provide a great opportunity for collegiate players to develop and improve their skill levels, and  Create a laboratory learning environment for sports administration students at OU. The next step was gaining acceptance into the Great Lakes League as a new franchise, and that word came in September of 2001. With acceptance from the league, the board now had just over nine months to make baseball in Southern Ohio a reality. With a structure in place, the team needed a business plan, which they got by working in conjunction with the OU MBA program. The program hosts a small business competition each year that has student groups work as consultants for area businesses. The summer baseball team was one of those businesses. The student group, which included three sports administration students, worked closely with the board for eight weeks and produced a 157-page business plan that the board followed closely its first season in building the team. The board organized a contest among the region's school children to name the team, and after two weeks and 2,500+ suggestions the COPPERHEADS was chosen as the team's name. The board continued its strong leadership and the sports administration students were called upon to take the lead in finding sponsorships, selling tickets and various other duties. To assist Kreutzer, who was named the team's General Manager, a handful of sports administration students took positions with the team. Dave Palmer was named Assoc. GM and Nathan Kievman, a second year sports administration graduate student, was named Asst. GM. "This has been a huge undertaking. We bring a tremendously talented board of directors and the nation's premier athletic administration program that is putting the team as one of its main projects. This is going to be a terrific thing for years to come," said Palmer.
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