Chuck Sitton and David Halbert will be honored at Wildcat Stadium through the unveiling of a statue Friday after Chapel.
The first-team All-American defensive back and one of the co-captains of the 1977 national championship football team, Sitton, passed away in a house fire at the age of 24. David Halbert was one of Sitton’s lifelong friends who played football with him from elementary to high school.
The sculpture is named “Lean on Me” and has a dedicatory plaque that reads, “One of the most iconic projects to grow from ACU’s 21st-Century Vision is Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium. Here, the unique experience created by intercollegiate athletics helps draw people into closer community, uniting students and alumni in support of each other, with gratitude for their alma mater and for God’s providence in their lives.”
Ron Hadfield, who was heavily involved in consulting on the project, said “Lean on Me” is intended to represent the kind of supportive camaraderie students and student-athletes enjoy as Wildcats, the importance of teamwork and the lifelong relationships collegiate athletics can foster in an environment like Anthony Field at Wildcat Stadium.
In January, Halbert’s sister Belinda Harmon, wanted to honor the relationship between Sitton and his best friend and a team began working on it as a gift to the university. Her husband, Bob Harmon, coached Sibert on the championship team.
“Bob came up with the idea because he believed, as I do, the bond between the student body and the athletic teams, is crucial to a strong university,” Harmon said.
She said the Halbert-Harmon Foundation, started by her father David S. Halbert, funded the statue.
Jack Maxwell, a professor of art, and his wife Jill worked in partnership to sculpt the piece. Although the two were not close with Sitton because of the location of the art department at the time, they said it has been a joy to work on the sculpture.
“Its been meaningful to me to understand that relationships can last a lifetime, and how special that friendship was and even after all these years, you can tell when David speaks, how good of friends they were and how much of a loss he feels today,” Maxwell said.
The statue will be located outside of Gate A near Wildcat Way.