The vision of state of the art athletic facilities and exceptional athletic recruits is becoming more than a vision at Marshall University.
An $8 million Hoops Family Field Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex and the Chris Cline athletic complex are a part of the Vision Campaign.
The complex includes an Indoor Practice Facility, hall of fame, sports medicine facility and academic center.
Big Green Executive Director John Sutherland provided an update on the Vision Campaign and future plans for the athletic department.
“After four years when we initiated this whole thing, we are 90 percent in terms of closing out the campaign,” Sutherland said. “Ninety percent of the funding in, and approximately 50 percent of the construction complete.”
President Stephen J. Kopp is remembered and valued in the Big Green organization for his commitment and undeniable support for herd athletics.
“(President Kopp) was instrumental in bringing some of our largest donors to the table that probably would not have been here without his help,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland also said the Sports Medicine Center was President Kopp’s baby, and the Big Green will make sure he is appropriately recognized when the center is opened.
Just as there are rivalries on the gridiron and on the court, there is competition in athletic construction among college athletic departments.
“College athletics has always been about building more facilities, and whoever had the best facilities is where recruiting got influenced,“ Sutherland said. “Now you’ve got this separation going on between the Power Five and everyone else in the country.”
Sutherland said facilities can make or break a decision of where a recruit will decide to call home for his or her college career.
“This year we had 17 football three-star recruits, way more than we’ve ever had before, way more,” Sutherland said. “No question, the facilities influence recruiting no question.”
Sutherland said the vision to constantly have Marshall compete with the best of the best in game and construction, will always be clear and alive.
“As far as construction goes, we’d really like to have a baseball stadium and work with the city in that regard,” Sutherland said. “Finding the land for that is a challenge. We would love to be able to add a basketball practice facility.”
The Marshall Vision Campaign has contributed a great deal to the new campus landscape that boasts new facilities all around, and not just in Herd athletics.
Mercedez Speight can be contacted at [email protected]