Springfield College Receives $1.04 Million
June 9, 2007
In Contributions to Name Sports Complex Honoring Irv Schmid
Springfield, Mass., June 9, 2007 – Springfield College today renamed its new multi-purpose athletic fields the Irv Schmid Sports Complex in a ceremony that took place on the soccer field during Reunion Weekend.
On hand were several members of the Schmid family, including son Chris who spoke on the family’s behalf during the dedication. Unveiled were two items, including a plaque, and a sign on the soccer press box saying Irv Schmid Sports Complex.
Irv Schmid is a legendary figure in Springfield College annals. Selected to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, he served as the College’s men’s soccer coach and as a faculty member from 1947 to 1985. His teams won the national championship in 1957 and captured four New England championships. Hundreds of his players went on to successful careers as coaches at the high school or college levels, and several of his former players served terms as president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
The impetus for this dedication was provided by an anonymous donor, a Springfield College alum, who did more than his part by contributing $500,000 to insure that the former soccer coach would be duly recognized. The donor challenged Schmid’s players, other alumni, and friends in collectively matching his gift to the College’s fund-raising campaign.
“The response to his challenge was overwhelming,” noted Springfield College President Richard B. Flynn. The College raised an additional $504,000 for a sum total of $1.04 million.
“It is especially appropriate for Springfield College to name these state-of-the-art playing fields for Irv Schmid, who personified excellence as a coach, teacher, and leader in the field of athletics,” added Flynn. “This outstanding complex is one example of our commitment to providing top quality facilities to support excellent academic and athletic programs and campus life. It supports our mission of educating students in spirit, mind and body to become tomorrow’s leaders.”
In a letter directed to the College’s alumni, the anonymous donor was quoted as saying, “We want to commemorate and thank the man who mentored us through and after the best four years of our lives; whose soccer coaching resume includes every national honor worth mentioning; and who set exemplary standards for all of us to reach for as competitors, teachers, leaders, professionals, men, husbands, and fathers.”
The College constructed the $3 million complex, which includes two playing fields, scoreboards, lights, and a press box, in 2005. “It is the finest two-field facility in the Northeast,” said Springfield College Director of Athletics Cathie Schweitzer.
The fields’ surface is FieldTurf® synthetic grass, which can be used year-round, and is less expensive to maintain than grass. “We think it is one of the safest surfaces, and our players really like it,” said Springfield College Head Football Coach Mike DeLong. The college is in the process of resurfacing its football field, Benedum Field, with FieldTurf®, which will be the company’s 2000th installation. That field will be ready for play by the end of August.
The Irv Schmid Sports Complex game field, which will still be known as Brock-Affleck Field, accommodates men’s and women’s soccer teams’ games and practice. The practice field accommodates those teams, as well as football, field hockey, men’s and women’s lacrosse, intramurals, skill classes in physical education, campus recreational programs, and summer camps.
Schmid served as president of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, was enshrined it its Hall of Fame, and received its highest recognition, the Honor Award. A renowned author and clinician, he also was a member of the prestigious United States Olympic Soccer Committee.
Besides inducting Schmid into its Athletics Hall of Fame, Springfield College also awarded him the Tarbell Medallion, its highest honor for distinguished service to the alma mater. He graduated from the College in 1943, and received his master’s degree there in 1950. As an undergraduate, he excelled in soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, and track and field.
According to current Springfield College Men’s Soccer Coach Peter Haley, “Schmid’s impact goes well beyond the College. His influence, be it direct or indirect, is still very much felt today. His contact with so many young people over the years has obviously had a ripple affect on coaching and teaching. His professional integrity and dedication to Springfield College are beacons for others to emulate, and his true impact on the game, in the coaching ranks and in teaching, may never really be accurately measured.”
The renaming of the Irv Schmid Sports Complex is the latest event in Leadership for the 21st Century, The Campaign for Springfield College. The College launched the public phase of the campaign in 2005, with a goal of $40 million. To date, it has raised $30.5 million.
Last month, the College broke ground for a new field house and a new wellness center. Earlier this year, the college completed a renovation and expansion of Schoo Hall into an integrated teaching and learning science center. The college also plans to construct a new campus union. In addition to supporting new facilities, the campaign will strengthen the college’s endowment and support current and future initiatives.