Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2011 (August 4, 2011 at 12:00 am)

Return to Glory Days


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July 22, 2011 at 12:00 am

Bierman with LacrossersBeloit’s 15-year hiatus from hosting home track meets has nearly ended.

After raising $3.7 million from a small group of alumni, friends, and parents of Beloit students, the college began major upgrades to the main Strong Stadium field and its surrounding track in April. When completed this fall, the improvements will allow Beloit to host track meets again on home turf and expand its suite of intercollegiate Division III teams to include varsity lacrosse for men and women.

The deteriorated track is being completely removed and replaced with an NCAA competition-quality eight-lane track. The natural grass football field has been excavated and will be replaced with an artificial surface that expands its usefulness beyond the football season.

Lacrosse is a fast-growing intercollegiate sport in the Midwest, and Beloit is ahead of the curve in fielding NCAA Division III squads. In the spring of 2013, Beloit will be the first to host varsity lacrosse matches in the Midwest Conference and only the second in the 14-school Associated Colleges of the Midwest to offer a lacrosse program, joining Colorado College.

A gift from a friend of the college is providing Beloit with full funding of both programs for the first five years.

In June, Director of Athletics and Recreation Peggy Carl announced the hiring of Bob Dignazio as Beloit’s first-ever head coach of men’s lacrosse. He comes to Beloit from Kenyon College in Ohio. As of press time, the search for a women’s coach was still underway.

The track portion of the renovation is important to present and future student-athletes, but it also reconnects Beloit to an accomplished past in the sport. The college was once nationally prominent in track and served as host of the Beloit Relays, one of the country’s premier collegiate track and field events. Inaugurated in 1937, the Relays were last run in 1979.

When President Bierman made the announcement to players and coaches in the lobby of Beloit’s sports center in March, he pointed to the trophies and placards surrounding the group, reminding them of the exploits of more than a century’s worth of world-class student athletes.

Bierman signaled his intention to see the Beloit Relays return, while also pointing out the names of the college’s athletic facilities—from Strong Stadium and Flood Arena, to Hancock Field and the former Smith Gymnasium—and their related legacy. “This tradition is owed to the generations of Beloiters who have supported the college,” he said.

The new track and field is slated for dedication at Beloit’s season-opening football game against Carroll University on Sept. 17.

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