Updated 04/17/2012 04:21 PM
Ground-breaking held for UAlbany's multi-sports complex
Tuesday was a big day for the University at Albany as a ground-breaking was held for a new multi-sports complex. Megan Eaton has the details.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- UAlbany football coach Bob Ford said, "I arrived here in 1970. There's been absolutely nothing done to the football facility during that 43-year period of time."
The flying dirt marks the welcome first change to UAlbany's football landscape. It's the first of three phases designed to turn outdated fields into a competitive multi-sport complex. The second and third phases include updates to the existing track, with the final goal making the complex a year-round recreational center for championship football and soccer teams, students, and the Albany community.
Athletic Director Lee McElroy said, "High schools will be able to use it, club teams will be able to use it, Section 2 will be able to use it for different events. It will be a venue that the entire Capital Region will be proud of."
After 43 years under the lights, Coach Ford is the longest active coach in Division I football. The school is going to honor him by putting his name on the field.
"There is nobody better," said Dan Nolan, Class of '73 Presidents' Club. "There is no more passionate, more caring and more successful coach."
The naming campaign to stamp Bob Ford's name on the complex is well underway. An anonymous $1 million donation has them halfway to the $2 million goal. And every future donation made will be matched by the same donor, up to $1 million. Ford knows his longevity in the football program is what's being honored with the dedication.
"It'll feel as if I've put a tremendous amount of my life into the University of Albany, and I guess they felt in turn that maybe what I did was worthwhile," said Ford.
From dirt to turf, the entire project is expected to be completed by winter 2013.