WILBERFORCE — When Central State University’s 2021 football season gets underway, its home field will have a new-and-improved look.
McPherson Memorial Stadium will unveil a new turf field and running track when the Marauders host Allen University at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 in their home opener and homecoming game. CSU’s first four games, including the Classic for Columbus Aug. 28, are on the road.
“We have had ongoing discussions about necessary upgrades to the stadium since my arrival at CSU in 2018,” said CSU Director of Athletics Tara Owens. “In August of 2020, we were able to partner with the NFL Hall of Famer Willie Lanier and his organization, the Honey Bear Project. Through this partnership, we were able to secure additional funding in order to move forward with our plans for installing new field turf and track surfaces. While crews have continued to work in the stadium, we have also used this time to visit the possibility of other upgrades which include ticketing booths, locker rooms, press box areas, and offices.”
This project does not include lights.
“Our primary focus in this project is to install the new field turf, track, and field competition areas while ensuring that the current projects are completed by the first home game of 2021,” Owens said. “Lighting as well as other upgrades to our athletic facilities continue to be discussed as we try to secure additional funding to improve our resources for CSU student-athletes and the community.”
Owens said the additions of a new turf field and new track mean a lot to CSU and the opportunities that each will create.
“First and foremost, Central State University is thankful for the vision of our leader President Jack Thomas and for the partnership with Honey Bear,” Owens said. “Honey Bear’s commitment to CSU has allowed for us to facilitate some long overdue upgrades to our stadium. We believe these upgrades will help us in our recruiting efforts while providing our current student athletes a quality facility to practice and compete on. These facility upgrades also will create new revenue streams through facility rentals and serving as host to regional and national events while the surrounding communities will also be able to capitalize and make use of the facility.”
With a turf field CSU could host high school football, lacrosse, and/or soccer regular-season and tournament games.
“We feel that Central State University is a destination for the surrounding communities to come together,” Owens said. “With these facility upgrades, we plan to partner with multiple area organizations, locally, regionally, and nationally. We want to maximize the usage of McPherson Memorial Stadium and showcase our campus.”
The new field and track can also strengthen CSU’s working relationships with school districts in the area, especially those in Greene County.
“CSU continues to have a great relationship with our surrounding school systems and Greene County,” Owens said. “I believe the facility upgrades provides us with another avenue to work together with community leaders throughout our area.”
Owens encouraged residents in Greene County and neighboring areas to come to campus and support CSU during every home game.
“We want to win and compete for national championships,” Owens said. “We are a team and a university that the community will be proud of. Our student-athletes, fans, coaches, staff, administration, and alumni are all going to be a part of something special. It is certainly an exciting time to be a Central State University Marauder.”
Reach Darryl McGee at 937-502-4534