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University Breaks Ground for New Multi-Sports Complex, Launches $1 Million Challenge for Bob Ford Field

Albany, N.Y. (April 17, 2012) — University at Albany President George M. Philip, joined by a host of public officials, UAlbany student-athletes, coaches, and alumni, broke ground today on the construction of its new multi-sports complex. Dan Nolan ’73, a member of UAlbany’s President’s Club of outstanding contributors, also announced a $1 million challenge as part of a $2 million campaign to name the new football field for football head coach Bob Ford.

The groundbreaking marks a signature moment for UAlbany athletics. Representing phase I of a three-phase plan, the project will transform the University's outdated 1960’s playing field into a Division 1 state-of-the-art athletic and recreational complex. Upon completion, the complex will be home to Great Danes NCAA Division I football and soccer teams, as well as the University’s track and field venue. The announcement included project contractors, Whiting-Turner Contracting Company; principle architect and designer, Heery International Inc.; and site engineer, Clough Harbor & Associates.

“We’re thrilled to be implementing this very long-awaited plan,” said UAlbany president George M. Philip, “Already this project is heightening team spirit as we provide the Great Dane athletes and our students with the facilities of which they are so deserving.”

Bob Ford speaks at ceremony which officiall named Bob Ford Field
UAlbany Football Coach Bob Ford addresses fans and media at press conference on the site of what will be Bob Ford Field, due to host its first gridiron action in Fall 2013. Presidents Club member Dan Nolan '73 looks on at right. (Photo by Mark Schmidt; Homepage photo by Times Union photographer Cindy Schultz)

The ceremony took place at the site of the future complex—the University Athletic Field—which is east of the SEFCU Arena. Phase II of the project includes the creation of a synthetic turf field designed for year-round student recreational, intramural, and club sport activities. The turf field will be located east of the campus tennis courts and south of the Dutch Quad residence hall, and is expected to be completed in fall 2012. The last phase includes repairs and upgrades meeting NCAA Division I standards to the University’s track and field venue. Completion of the track is scheduled for early winter 2013.

A $1 million fundraising challenge to name the new football field for legendary football head coach Bob Ford was also announced. In February, UAlbany reported an anonymous contribution of $1 million to the multi-sports complex project; all gifts toward this campaign will be matched by the same donor up to $1 million until December 31, 2012.

"For forty years, Bob Ford has nurtured student-athletes and the football program at UAlbany, it is only fitting to name the field for Coach Ford" said George Hearst III, president, The University at Albany Foundation. "It is our hope that the $1 million matching challenge will spur the public support needed to achieve this goal."

Since UAlbany football's reinstatement in 1970, Ford has been the team’s only coach. He is currently the active wins leader in Division I college football, spanning all BCS and FCS programs, with 255 career victories. He led the Great Danes to their first FCS playoff appearance last fall.

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