Pilots to get new field turf

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WARREN, Mich. (Jan. 22, 2019) – Last week, the De La Salle Collegiate Board of Trustees approved a $2 million athletic field project that will significantly improve the educational-athletics experience for its current and future students.

St. John Baptist de La Salle Field will be the first major facility upgrade to the all-boys school in 15 years. Currently in its 93rd academic year, De La Salle moved to Warren in 1982.

“St. John Baptist de La Salle Field will provide our Lasallian community an outstanding location for athletic and co-curricular programs,” De La Salle President John M. Knight said. “On behalf of the Brothers and our Board of Trustees, I offer our deepest gratitude to those men and women who have so generously supported this project.”

The new, fenced-in facility will include a multi-use athletic field, scoreboard, grandstands that will seat 1,500 fans, and a press box to accommodate coaches and media. The field will be used primarily for Pilots football, soccer and lacrosse, but it will also entertain other programs.

Beginning in 2020, the new athletic field will be advantageous to the Admissions Department, which oversees the school’s successful summer camp programs. Approximately, 300 of the 750 annual campers sign up for football, lacrosse and soccer, combined. The school’s award-winning marching band – the Marching Pilots – will also benefit from the use of the new field, as will physical education classes and intramural programs.

A supporter of De La Salle, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated $300,000 for the rights to name the athletic field, which is located on the west end of the school’s 20-acre property.

An aerial shot of De La Salle's  worn down football field taken following the Pilots' freshman and JV games against Muskegon last Aug. 25.

An aerial shot of De La Salle’s worn down football field taken following the Pilots’ freshman and JV games against Muskegon last Aug. 25. (Photo by Bill Roose/De La Salle)

A timeline for completion of St. John Baptist de La Salle Field has not been established. However, the hope is construction can begin as early as mid-May and Pilots’ fall sports teams will begin using it by Sept. 1.

“This outdoor athletic field renovation represents years of planning, fundraising and work by staff, coaches, administrators, trustees, donors and alumni,” De La Salle athletic director Mike Watson said.

All three levels – varsity, junior varsity and freshman – of soccer and lacrosse will use the new field for practices and games. Junior varsity and freshman football will also have full use of the field. However, the three-time state championship varsity football will not play at St. John Baptist de La Salle Field. They will continue to play home games at Wayne State University’s Tom Adams Field.

Despite the grass fields, De La Salle’s programs that practice and play on it have managed to produce winners in the past. Aside from the football titles, lacrosse has one state crown and soccer has five state championships.

“The addition of a new artificial infill turf field will not only improve the aesthetic of our athletic facility, but create a playing surface that is consistent and safe,” De La Salle athletic director Mike Watson said. “As a new home to the football, soccer, lacrosse, band programs as well as physical education classes, the field also offers De La Salle the opportunity to host youth, CYO and MHSAA events, and will be a showcase for Lasallian education.”

Assistant athletic director Andy Crowley spreads sand on the rain-soaked field that will be replaced with a new field turf this spring.

Assistant athletic director Andy Crowley spreads sand on the rain-soaked field that will be replaced with a new field turf this spring. (Photo by Bill Roose/De La Salle)

Last fall, the Pilots’ regular-season soccer schedule consisted of three home games – all played at Macomb Community College. Now, De La Salle will join 11 Catholic League and 19 Macomb County schools that already enjoy the benefits of playing and practicing at home on artificial surfaces.

And legendary soccer coach Thaier Mukhtar is looking forward to finally playing true home games.

“It is our educational and athletic responsibilities to provide our students a safe environment for the boys to play and compete on equal level fields with other outstanding schools,” he said. “The soccer and football programs are two of the finest in the state and now with this project our athletes will have the opportunities to flourish even more.”

Comments are closed.