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Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, ” Do these ticket booths look similar to you? Preparing the physical grounds for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson”

Guest Blogger: Jonathan Swann C’19, ” Do these ticket booths look similar to you? Preparing the physical grounds for the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship at Davidson”


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Jonathan Swann was a psychology major at Davidson, graduating in the class of 2019. At Davidson, he wrote for the Davidsonian, was a member of the Student Government Association, and was involved in College Democrats. Originally from Maryland, he currently lives in Central Florida working at a boarding school.  

Each week during the month of March, Swann will offer a post analyzing different aspects of Davidson College’s hosting of the 1992-1994 Men’s Soccer Championship and the ways in which “Distinctly Davidson” impacted the event.  This post is the second in the series, and it focuses on how Davidson prepared the outdoor environment for the 1992-1994 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.

Figure 1. Physical Plant putting up a goalpost for the soccer championship.
  Figure 2. Shot on goal during the championship

There was a great deal of hard work involved in enhancing and maintaining the campus grounds to accommodate the four soccer teams on the field and thousands of fans off the field for the championship.[1] First, Physical Plant widened Richardson Stadium so it could hold a regulation soccer field.[2] In addition, Physical Plant employees carefully fertilized and watered the natural grass to meet the stringent NCAA standards for a championship soccer field.[3] To deal with the crowds, Physical Plant erected ground control barriers and temporary fences so people couldn’t watch the games outside the bleachers without buying tickets.[4] 

Figure 3. Bird’s eye view of the 1994 championship with “The Third Time’s the Charm” banner. You can see the ground barriers around the field and the lights.

Back then, Johnston Gym was no longer the basketball arena (Baker Sports Complex opened in 1989) but had yet to be converted into the Union we know today. [5] Johnston Gym was next to the stadium, so the Gym was seen as a logical choice to set up locker rooms.[6] However, the Gym was winterized (the lights were dimmed and the heat was turned off) so Physical Plant renovated the Gym for the championship.[7]

Figure 4. Picture taken from Johnston Gym of the Championship. You can notice the smaller track around the field.

In addition, the Carpentry Department at Physical Plant built several ticket booths.[8] According to Physical Plant, one of those ticket booths is now the security booth for Lake Campus.[9] When I visited Lake Campus before I left Davidson after graduation, I did notice a strong resemblance to the current ticket booths outside Richardson Stadium! Finally, I reached out to Gary Andrews, the head track and field coach at Davidson from 1986 to 2014, because I heard that widening the field impacted the track and field team.[10]  Physical Plant tore up the first three lanes of the track, significantly affecting practices for the track and field team.[11] Andrews enjoyed the championship and watched the games but admitted to me that the torn up track was difficult for the track and field team, especially for recruiting.[12] Despite being promised a new track in a year by the athletic department, the team would not have a renovated and full-sized track until 1999.[13]

Hosting a NCAA championship was a significant undertaking with many logistical challenges. Despite it all, Davidson hosted a nearly flawless championship with rave reviews from coaches, fans, students, staff, and administrators.[14]


[1] Tom Sorensen , “Selling Soccer-Slagle’s Goal Has All Signs Leading to Davidson,” Charlotte Observer, August 31, 1992. Scott Applegate. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019. Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019. Liz Clarke, “Davidson Basks in Soccer Glory,” Charlotte Observer, December 1, 1992.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Irwin Brawley. In-person interview with the author. May 2019.

[4] Irwin Brawley. In-person interview with the author. May 2019.                                                                                        

[5] “Baker Sports Complex,” Davidson College, https://www.davidson.edu/about/campus-spaces/athletic-facilities/baker-sports-complex. Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019.

[6] Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019.

[9] Kevin Andersen & et al. In-person interview with the author. June 2019. [1] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019. Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. Fall 2018.

[10] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019. Pat Millen. In-person interview with the author. Fall 2018.

[11] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019.

[12] Gary Andrews. In-Person Interview with the author. June 2019.

[13] “Irwin Belk Track.” Davidson College Athletics. https://davidsonwildcats.com/facilities/irwin-belk-track/32.

[14] Mike Digiovanna, “Soccer Capital: Davidson College Would Like to Become Permanent Final Four Site” (Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1993), https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1993-12-03-sp-63567-story.html.

 

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