Friday, January 27, 2006
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (January 27, 2006) - The momentum for new on-campus athletic facilities at ETSU continues to build as earlier this week members of the campus community and area leaders gathered to meet as part of the Athletic Campaign Steering Committee.
Along with ETSU athletic department personnel, community leaders such as Gary Mabry of the
"There's a lot of excitement with us breaking ground on the first project," said ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins. "We've made a lot of tough decisions and there has been a great deal of planning to get us to this point. There is so much support in the community for what we are doing, and the positive feedback that we have received about the plans is encouraging. There is definitely a lot of momentum for the entire project."
Currently, site work has already started on the west end of campus in preparation for a new soccer complex. The $3 million facility, part of the overall $104 million project, will be built in two phases. The first will include the field, lighting, stadium seating for approximately 600, and a press box. The second phase will include an office building, a practice field, and a landscaped entrance way that will welcome fans to the athletic facilities on that end of campus.
In addition to the work on a new soccer complex, the department also announced that it will field a club soccer team in the fall of 2007, with plans to start scholarship soccer in the fall of 2008. Mullins said the process for hiring a coach will begin this fall, with plans to offer as many as 3.5 scholarships beginning with the 2008-09 season. The NCAA allows a maximum of 9.9 scholarships in men's soccer. ETSU is currently one of only two member schools in the Atlantic Sun Conference that does not field men's soccer, but pledged to begin a program while negotiating its membership in the A-Sun two years ago.
In all, nine volunteers from the community will serve on the Athletic Campaign Steering Committee, a group that Mullins is proud to have help in the process. Others on the committee include Joe Grandy of Ferguson Enterprises, Andy Whetsel of Citizen's Bank Tri-Cities, and Dr. Jim Gibson of Mountain Empire Radiology PC, as well as Ed and Mary Ann McCall.
Next on the drawing board following the soccer complex will be a $2-3 million softball facility, which will be located on university-owned land located off
"We're pleased to see this project underway and the progress we are making is encouraging," Mullins said. "This is going to be a long process because it is such a large undertaking, but with the kind of support we've seen already, we are optimistic about the overall plan."
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