CUC Athletes and Coaches Seek Improvements to Facilities


Sophomore Seba Miller works out as part of the men’s lacrosse team in CUC’s Fitness Center

Peter Borkowski

As an athlete on both the men’s lacrosse team and football team, sophomore Seba Miller spends a lot of time practicing on CUC’s turf football field, working out in the fitness center, and changing in the locker rooms.

Built in 2000, Concordia Stadium includes a turf field for field sports as well as a 400-meter track for cross country and track and field. While the track was resurfaced in just 2015, the turf has been the same since the stadium was built over 20 years ago.

And while Miller is content with the overall quality of everything, he, among others, believes room-for-improvement exists.

“Everything that the school has is able to get the job done, even if it’s not the quickest, most efficient way; it’ll get the job done,” says Miller. “It’s just not top of line.”

Miller views Concordia Stadium’s football field as a prime example of his main gripe with the school’s facilities: “The field, I feel like it’s a little bit worn down and it needs to be updated. Every sport is using it year round, and it’s gotten to the point where there’s no point replacing certain parts; it needs to be totally replaced.”

Miller said if he had total control over the athletics facilities, he would “completely redo the football field” including brand new turf.

The locker rooms are another point of emphasis for Miller, saying that while “they do what they need to do,” they are a little outdated and not a “selling point” for potential recruits like they are for other universities. 

Miller also mentions that he would like to see different locker rooms for different teams, as most locker spaces are shared by multiple teams. For instance, one of the main men’s locker rooms is currently housing equipment for the men’s lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball teams. 

Size of athletic facilities is a common concern for CUC’s athletes. 

Sophomore Ashley Shroll, a pitcher for the softball team, views both the fitness center and the athletic treatment rooms as too small. The training room present in Geiseman Gymnasium’s basement only has two full-length tables for athletes to be treated on, leading to standing around and waiting. The training room found outdoors, right next to the football field, similarly only has two tables, but has additional elevated seats not found in the Geiseman training room that students can sit on to have their legs treated. Overall floor space is also limited in both training rooms, leading to overcrowding when a large amount of athletes are present. 

She also thinks that there is not enough room for both the softball and baseball teams, who share facilities like their equipment closet and batting cages, which are tucked behind the bleachers in the upper levels of Geiseman. The cages, which Shroll describes as “cramped,” must be dismantled if the bleachers are deployed and unfolded.

Due to limited indoor space, both softball and baseball must travel to off-site facilities, like the local Bo Dome in Lockport, if they wish to have full-fledged practices when practicing outside is not an option. 

On the other hand, Greg Manos, head coach of the men’s volleyball team and a former assistant coach at DI Miami University in Ohio, has overall positive feelings towards CUC’s facilities.

I have worked at three Division I programs in the WAC/Big South/MAC and our gym space at CUC is larger and more renovated than all of them,” says Manos. “On-court we have a quality surface area, floor quality and proper lighting.”

Even with her criticisms of the facilities in mind, Shroll also appreciates what is found at CUC on the whole; “The facilities are always clean and have everything we need to be successful as student athletes,” says Shroll. “I think they properly serve our needs as student athletes.” 

But just because CUC’s facilities get the job down and then some does not mean that both students and coaches are not thinking about possible additions.

“A field house would be a good add for when the outdoor sports are unable to get outside,” says Shroll. 

Field houses are large, enclosed facilities with open space to house a variety of athletic events, practices, workouts, and more. Many field houses host a shortened turf field that several outdoor teams use when they can not use an outdoor turf field. 

Marian University, a school in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in the same athletic conference as CUC, built one such 17,000 square foot facility back in 2011. 

Shroll is not the only one with a field house in mind. 

Outdoor sports have more limitations due to weather so I view that as the biggest challenge. Some schools with ‘field house’ space can utilize the square footage for recreation, outdoor sports, etcetera,” says Manos. When weather conditions get bad, outdoor teams migrate to Geiseman or the South Gym, a smaller gym space connected to Geiseman. However, this creates a scheduling conflict with how many teams are trying to secure limited gym space, a problem a field house could mitigate, says Manos. 

Due to this scheduling conflict, outdoor teams looking to book indoor space must do so 24 to 48 hours before their practice, says Scott Gwyn, the former head men’s lacrosse coach. If these teams had more dedicated indoor space, such as Shroll and Manos’s proposed field house, moving practices inside would not be such a hassle. 

Janet Wolbert, the athletic director at CUC, says that plans for a field house are in motion, but raising the appropriate funds for such a massive project is the current hold-up.

“The overall projects is a much longer project as significant funding is needed,” says Wolbert, who is on a committee that is working to add a field house to CUC’s campus. “However, we are hoping we would be able to start working on improvements within the next five years, but it really depends on raising the money.”

The fitness center is another opportunity for improvement to some. 

“I would add more space in the fitness center for more equipment,” says Shroll. 

Gwyn echoes this statement, focusing on more cardio equipment. 

“The biggest thing I would like to see is more bikes like those in the hotbox,” says Gwyn. “The hotbox” refers to a multi-purpose room found in the basement of Geiseman. The room, which is used by just about every team on campus, houses multiple stationary cardio bikes, which, unlike the ones currently found in the fitness center, look and feel more like traditional bicycles. “They’re great for rehab and spin-class style training,” adds Gwyn. 

The criticisms of the fitness center are not shared by everyone however.

“The weight room has the appropriate amount of equipment relative to the number of sports,” says Manos. “The equipment has its use and is fully functional for our needs.”

While Wolbert does not list a specific plans for improvements outside of the field house, she says that improvements listed off by students like Shroll and coaches like Gwyn are improvements she too would like to come to fruition, and that some could be included in a potential field house.