After 30 years, athletes/students get to ride in comfort
After two years of searching, Utah State University Eastern has a new Eagle Bus for transporting and advertising the campus community.
For more than 30 years, USU Eastern athletic teams have been traveling to their games and tournaments in a 1981 MCI C9 bus. This bus did not have enough seating for both male and female teams, despite having had the restroom removed to augment the seating capacity. With 400,000 miles, the C9 was well past its prime and in need of a replacement.
Over a year ago, Robyn Sheriff, director of purchasing, started looking for a replacement. Sheriff contacted the MCI headquarters where a salesman of pre-owned vehicles directed her to the Lake Shore Motor Coach in Provo, UT. She looked all over the United States, finding buses in Florida and New York. She chose a 2004 MCI J4500, for its accessibility and low cost.
The coach cost $177,000 out the door, while comparable coaches cost around $250,000, and it will be paid off within the next five years. For this price, the school bought a vehicle with 371,000 miles, new tires, a functioning restroom, a seating capacity of 56, and all of the bells and whistles found on most commercial airplanes.
“I think it’s one of the best marketing tools that we can have,” Sheriff said.
Coach Dave Paur, director of athletics, went farther in his praises of the bus as well as Sheriff and Brad King, vice chancellor of administration and advancement, for providing it, “This bus gives credibility to the college. Greg Dart, director of enrollment services, is designing a wrap and once we have that it will be like a moving billboard.” Paur explained that while the C9 “Eagle Bus” was a great workhorse, people recognized it as a relic. The new bus, coupled with the newly painted gym gives the school a look of newness that is attractive to high school recruits.