Three members of first football team (1977) to be present
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Evangel University will hold a dedication ceremony for the new Coryell Field on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, at 4 p.m., as a part of its Homecoming 2016 Celebration.
The new AstroTurf field was installed this past summer and is a state-of-the-art surface used for men and women’s soccer home games and practice, football practice, and for the marching band rehearsals.
The cheerleaders, marching band and student athletes will join alumni and Evangel leaders for the ceremony.
A highlight will be former football players representing each decade since the first football game was played on Sept. 10, 1977 — including three members of that very first Crusader team:
• The first tackle was Doug Mitcham, a 1980 mathematics graduate. He is now an associate professor of computer science at Evangel. Mitcham earned his masters at Boston University and worked in the defense industry before returning to Springfield in 1993 to teach at EU.
• The first nose guard was Rick Griepp, a 1979 communication graduate. He serves as a project manager at AG Publishing in the solutions development area.
• The first strong safety was David Mewbourn, a 1980 physical education graduate. He serves as senior pastor at Claremore Assembly of God in Claremore, Okla.
The time has come
The new turf field is part of the first phase of development for Evangel’s new athletic facilities.
“Coryell field is by far the best playing surface in the conference,” said Bruce Deaton, director of soccer operations and head women’s soccer coach.
“The opportunity to train and play our matches on this field, not only enhances our ability to play the game, but will pay huge dividends in the recruiting of future Lady crusaders. We are incredibly blessed to get to call this place home!”
This development follows a successful first round of public and private fundraising through Evangel’s Momentum Campaign for Athletics, which utilized some rather creative and often-times funny videos to update alumni and friends of the University.
“We are extremely excited about the new turf field,” said Dr. Dennis McDonald, director of athletics. “We sincerely appreciate the efforts of the Coryell family and the many others who offered their resources to provide for the field. It is serving its purpose and the student-athletes extremely well.”
Head football coach Chuck Hepola shared his team’s enthusiasm.
“Coryell Field has been both a blessing and asset to our football program,” he said. “We have a beautiful well-groomed facility to practice on. It aides in recruiting future student-athletes, while showing commitment from our administration and alumni to Evangel athletics.”
When finished, the three-phase project is designed to benefit the entire student body, including more than 300 student/athletes.
Groundbreaking for the new turf field was held on June 8, 2016. Coryell Field is named for the owners and developers of TLC Properties in Springfield.
“This project has been blessed with a shared vision and spirit of collaboration with our alumni and friends of the university,” said Dr. Carol Taylor, president. “Thanks to generous gifts from the Coryell family and others, we are able to provide the resources necessary to improve our athletic fields and our student experience.”
Sam and Carol Coryell started TLC Properties in 1988, and it remains a family-owned and operated business, with more than 25 apartment communities and approximately 4,000 apartments. Their sons, Sam M., Daniel and David have played vital roles in the development of the company.
Sam and Carol both taught music at Evangel, prior to the founding of TLC. All three sons attended Evangel; Daniel and David are both 2003 EU graduates.
The architect and contractor
Once again, Sapp Design in Springfield, Mo., was selected to do the architectural work for Evangel University. Sapp is a full-service architectural design firm that has partnered with Evangel for every major campus project through the past 16 years and has literally changed the face of the Evangel campus.
Evangel University utilized MidAmerica Sports Construction, a division of Mid-America Golf and Landscape, Inc., in Lee’s Summit, Mo., to be the project contractor.
Mid-America is recognized for state-of-the-art athletic sports field construction for brand new installations and for sports complex renovations. They offer both natural grass and synthetic turf installation.
Mid-America has completed a variety of athletic field projects for clients ranging from the Kansas City Chiefs (practice field) to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Kansas State University, Iowa State University, Texas A&M, Louisiana State University, and locally, Hillcrest, Glendale and Kickapoo High Schools.
About the AstroTurf
Evangel selected the premier AstroTurf product, Game Day Grass 3D3, for the playing field.
This top-of-the-line product blends monofilament and slit film fibers for combined grass-like aesthetics and high durability. 3D3 also utilizes RootZone, a technology that incorporates texturizing fibers to reduce infill migration, for improved cleat release, shock absorption, and durability. This turf is in use at such varied venues as Oklahoma State’s recently renovated T. Boone Pickens Stadium, and the Rogers Center, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
It was announced on March 3, 2016, that, “Following a rigorous vetting process, the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association has selected AstroTurf as the Official Synthetic Turf of the NAIA.”