September 20, 2016
Albion College Athletic Director Matt Arend stood before a crowd of more than 100 people Sunday afternoon and watched as the dream became reality.
"This is a project that's been on paper for five years," he said as he spoke at the dedication of the Davis Athletic Complex.
"When I was hired in July of 2011, I was shown a piece of paper and was told ‘This is a project we're doing. We're going to get it approved by the Board [of Trustees] in 30 days.'
"For three or four years we continued to tweak it and revise it," Arend continued. "We continued to talk to friends and alumni and parents who we thought would be supportive of the project."
And now, thanks to the generosity of Bud and Olivia Davis, longtime Albion residents and friends of the College who donated more than $1 million to the $6 million project, the project has come to fruition.
Ground was broken in mid-April for the Davis Athletic Complex, which includes Alumni Field, the competition facility for the men's and women's soccer and lacrosse programs, and Champions Stadium at Frank Joranko Field for baseball and Dempsey Field for softball. All of the facilities are brought together by a main entrance, walkway and plaza.
The women's soccer team played the first game on the Pro Grass surface for soccer and lacrosse on September. 4. In addition to the playing surface, the facility includes seating for approximately 250 spectators, a media center and lighting that allows for night contests.
When completed, along with their playing fields, the baseball and softball teams will enjoy amenities of a batting cage, bullpens to accommodate three pitchers, and flagpoles to hang pennants commemorating Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships.
"While people are what make Albion a special place, facilities like this are essential to get prospective student-athletes and their families to visit Albion," President Mauri Ditzler said during the dedication ceremony. "Thanks to the generous gift of the Davis family and many alumni, this complex will show off Albion for many years to come."
"Facilities don't win championships," he told the crowd, which included Bud Davis, who was presented with a gold construction helmet in appreciation for his generosity. "What facilities do is show how important it is to help student-athletes become the best they can be. Facilities show that institutions are committed to helping student-athletes, and I don't think there's any question that this complex accomplishes that."
Britons baseball coach Scott Carden spoke of the alumni who have come through the athletic facilities over the course of his 16 years at the College. He said he believes this is a huge step forward in reaffirming Albion's long and storied athletic tradition.
"It's easy to say you have a rich tradition," he said. "It's easier to show it."