Legacy of Leadership Turf Campaign

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The Shirley Berg family is very excited to see that Jerome Berg Field could receive this turf. Said Shirley, “Artificial turf for our football and baseball fields would be a great improvement to the athletic facilities at Mayville State. In this day and age of competitive athletics, students are drawn to schools who take pride in their facilities. Having artificial turf would be outstanding! I, and our entire family, would encourage everyone to consider supporting this project for Mayville State. I know my late husband, Jerome, would have been very excited to have the best for Mayville students.”

 

The dream of artificial turf football and baseball fields is making great headway as the campaign closes in on the end of the leadership phase with $439,000 raised. Gifts are coming in every month.
“We are excited and so thankful for each and every gift, because these fields will transform, protect, and strengthen Mayville State University and the community of Mayville-Portland and Traill County,” said John J. Klocke, executive director of the MSU Foundation. “We are just a short way from reaching our first milestone of raising $650,000, at which time we can commence building the first field,” said Klocke.

The campaign, which is a tribute to the great coaches of Mayville State University, is fully underway.
Currently, 210 football, baseball, and women’s softball student athletes would be able to use the turf fields. “These 210 players comprise over a third of our tuition,” said Klocke, who added, “A recent economic impact study shows that these 210 students alone generate more than $13,000,000 in annual economic impact in Mayville-Portland and Traill County. That’s huge.”

Klocke went on to say that the economic impact of these fields makes them a much larger priority than even their game value to the players. “We need to protect the financial stability and growth of this university. When we do, the students benefit and so does the community.”

In 2012, the MSU Foundation was fortunate to receive a challenge grant that would reduce the cost of these two fields from $2.6 million to $1.3 million. When Klocke came on board he could see that the sooner these fields could become a reality, the sooner MSU could be competitive in finding more local and regional student athletes.
“The turf field will become a location for high school sports, and those high school students will get an up-close look at MSU when they come to play on our turf,” said Klocke.

The Berg family supports the project.

The Shirley Berg family is very excited to see that Jerome Berg Field could receive this turf. Said Shirley, “Artificial turf for our football and baseball fields would be a great improvement to the athletic facilities at Mayville State. In this day and age of competitive athletics, students are drawn to schools who take pride in their facilities. Having artificial turf would be outstanding! I, and our entire family, would encourage everyone to consider supporting this project for Mayville State. I know my late husband, Jerome, would have been very excited to have the best for Mayville students.”

And what do the current coaches think?

Baseball coach Scott Berry is optimistic about the turf fields. “MSU has had a long-standing tradition, dating back to the beginning of Comets Baseball. When I think of groups like the Mayville Red Caps or the many Comets Baseball championship teams we have fielded, I think this turf project will be a fitting recognition of this winning tradition.” Coach Berry added, “I’d like to reach out to all of our former athletes and fans who have the opportunity to make this the biggest win for our kids. ‘Are you ready to join our team for this field of dreams?’”

And the field is not just for the men’s sports. Women’s softball can use the baseball field, with a few slight modifications for regular practice, which will be a great benefit to that team. Head softball coach Ashley VandeVeen said, “The turf project will benefit the entire athletic department and student body. Softball will be able to utilize this space in months when we would normally be inside because of the snow. This alone will help recruiting and retention all throughout athletics.”

When the turf campaign began in 2012, no competing universities had artificial turf. Now every one of them does, except for MSU. Even some high schools are getting turf.
According to head football coach John Haines, the turf is vital. “Turf is the next step in our growth. I am not speaking for football, but all athletics. It will provide much-needed training space for our athletic teams. Turf will give a great space for our Health and Physical Education majors as well, the fastest-growing majors at MSU, and we need to support them.”

Coach Haines went on to say that the turf will expand the ability to host outside events. “I would love to host high school playoff football games, summer camps, youth football, and much more.” Haines also emphasized the safety factor of turf. “There’s no question injuries to players will be reduced with the cushion turf provides.”

In 2014 there were 140 students majoring in HPER and 52 students pursuing a minor in HPER. These students make up 23% of the student population. HPER majors include Sports Management, Fitness and Wellness, Health and Health Education, and Physical Education. Many HPER course instructors could utilize the turf throughout the year to conduct units in their classes that are not possible to do on unlevelled or muddy ground. Due to its level and safety-inducing cushion, the turf becomes ideal for class use and begins to take the strain off of other already-crowded indoor facilities.

With full backing of the MSU cabinet and leaders from the community and across the country, the turf campaign continues and President Gary Hagen urges all alumni to take a good look at it.

“We have beautified and improved so many areas of the campus. We’ve made things safer, drier, prettier, and much more functional. In the last ten years, we have learned that facilities do matter because students make their college selections based on a campus’s physical amenities. This is especially true for student athletes who come to play a sport while they pursue their degrees. We’ve got to make these two fields a reality to protect our tuition revenue, our record enrollment, and our students with this far-safer alternative,” said Hagen. “I hope all of you will take a look at this project and help make MSU a highly competitive campus for those students who come right from our own backyard. We can’t afford to jeopardize our future by being complacent with the facilities while we watch other area schools take these students away. We are deeply grateful to all of the alumni and friends who have already given to the project. We plan to have some nice recognition of individuals, clubs, businesses, and foundations who pitch in. We owe it to Jerome Berg, Harvey McMullen, Al Meyer, and Lewy Lee, who blazed a trail for us. Let’s do it for them.”

The goal for the turf campaign is to raise $1.3 million for two fields. To date, $439,313 in cash and pledges has been raised. There are 95 alumni and friends on the team so far! Will you join them in this worthwhile effort?

Click here to see the Legacy of Leadership Turf Campaign team roster.

For more information about the project, contact MSU Foundation Executive Director John Klocke at john.j.klocke@mayvillestate.edu or 701-788-4787.