Work to remove the Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium began in late February. The project will make room for new athletics facilities, including a dedicated tennis center, and new fields for soccer and field hockey.
The new facilities mean student-athletes not only stand to gain an edge as they compete in the West Coast Conference, but that the women's field hockey team, which currently plays its home games in the Bay Area, will be able to play games in front of a hometown crowd. Competitors in the past have been reluctant to play the team on the natural-grass Brookside Field across the Calaveras River.
"Athletics are a visible and important part of the college experience. We want our students - both the student-athletes and their fans - to have the best possible experience when it comes to sports," said University of the Pacific President Pamela A. Eibeck. "That means having facilities that will allow our athletes to be competitive. These new facilities will allow them to play their very best."
Pacific last year returned to the prestigious West Coast Conference; the new facilities are intended to help student-athletes gain a competitive edge and continue the rich heritage of Pacific Athletics. Pacific athletes have shone brightly over the years, from men's basketball and women's volleyball to women's softball and, most recently, men's water polo. Several former Pacific athletes have gone on to medal-winning performances in the Olympics.
Stagg Stadium wasn't just for college football. It also hosted NFL practices, rock concerts, revivals and many other events.
"These new facilities will be very important to Pacific's future success competing in the West Coast Conference and instrumental in our ability to recruit top athletes to Pacific," said Ted Leland, Vice President for External Relations and Athletics Director. "Returning to the WCC and building these state-of-the-art facilities will bring added prestige not only to Pacific Athletics, but to University of the Pacific."
The field hockey field will be the first to be constructed in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium footprint. The field hockey team stands to gain the most from its new field. Pacific Athletics has raised the money for an artificial turf surface to be installed in time for next season.
"This field is the biggest thing to happen to this program since its inception in 1977," said head coach Andy Smith. "This new facility will give us the chance to compete against the best teams in the country on our own campus in Stockton. It is a massive step for us and one that everyone associated with the program is thrilled about."
The new soccer field will accommodate both the women's and men's soccer teams, with the men's soccer team beginning NCAA Division I play later this year after being dormant at the varsity level since 1985. Ryan Jorden, a two-time National Christian College Athletic Association National Coach of the Year and former head coach at California Baptist University, was named by Leland in August 2013 to restart the men's soccer program.
"The new soccer field will greatly increase our chances for success as Pacific brings back the men's program," said Jorden. "We're excited about the potential for success, and having a new facility adds to the excitement."
The Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center will include 12 courts, a clubhouse, covered player benches and a new electronic scoreboard. The complex is being made possible in part by a $1.5 million gift from Eve Zimmerman, a former Pacific tennis player who became a world-ranked professional player.
The benefits go beyond the student-athletes.
"Not only will our student-athletes benefit from these significant upgrades," Leland said, "there will be more recreational opportunities for all of our students. And, of course, we plan to open up the facilities as much as possible to the community. Stockton has a strong tennis community and it would make sense to open up the Zimmerman Tennis Center to masters and juniors programs."
Pacific Memorial Stadium was built in 1950 on land donated by legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg to honor U.S. military veterans. In 1988 it was renamed Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Stadium in honor of Coach Stagg and his remarkable legacy. Football was played there until the program was suspended in 1995. The stadium for a time also hosted concerts, high school graduations and football games, drum and bugle corps competitions, and conferences, and was home to the women's soccer team.
The 125,000 cubic yards of dirt that make up the stadium's berm foundation will be trucked away in April and May and could be used in levy repair and area construction projects such as the Interstate 5 renovation.
"We plan to recycle nearly 100 percent of the material - concrete, metal, asphalt and the soil from the berm," said Leland.
Besides the tennis complex, soccer field and field hockey field, plans call for an Amos Alonzo Stagg Memorial Plaza, which will honor legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, military veterans and Pacific football.
Leland said he hopes the fields will be ready to be dedicated during 2014 Homecoming in October.
The rough timeline of work is subject to change:
- March 3-April 25: Asbestos abatement and removal of buildings
- April 28-May 23: Dirt removal
- May 26-30: Rough grade
- June 2-July 11: Construction of field hockey field