Athletes and dignitaries gathered Friday for the reveal of a new, cutting-edge, water-based turf pitch for Women's Field Hockey at Bryant University. Armed with golden scissors, team captains accompanied President Ross Gittell, Ph.D., Vice President of Athletics and Recreation Bill Smith, and Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer Donna Ng to cut a ribbon as gilded as the team's future.
"What this represents is not only a new field and facility for Bryant University, but it represents our investment in the future and its reflection of the priorities of our institution, which includes that our students here will have a first-class experience on campus," says Gittell, referencing the university's Vision 2030 strategic plan, which includes transformational investments in athletics.
Gittell then mentioned a conversation from his first move-in day in 2021 with parent Chris Gallagher, who urged him to consider a new field hockey turf. Gallagher's daughter, Caitlin, is a standout junior who has started in all but one game of her first two seasons.
"I don't quite respond to everyone this way," Gittell joked to laughs. "But it demonstrates that we listen and we respond to students. We're very proud of our athletics program. It's a critical part of our university."
Smith then addressed the crowd of student-athletes, parents, faculty, and staff.
"I really can't be prouder or happier for these young ladies here," said Smith, who credited Bryant's leadership cabinet, Associate Vice President for Planning, Design and Construction Thomas Mann, senior project manager David Parente, Deputy Athletic Director John Ruppert, Walsh Contracting Corp. and the many other players who contributed to the project.
Field hockey coach Jillian Coppola then thanked her team for their hard work and support.
"Every time we step onto this pitch here, we will do that with pride, with a forward-thinking mindset, and with excitement to begin this next chapter of Bryant field hockey," said Coppola. "Go Dogs!"
Bryant's Pep Band kept spirits high as the team prepared for a 4 p.m. match against Merrimack, with the Bulldogs winning the game 3:1 on their new home turf. Click here to read the full coverage from Bryant Athletics.