|Thursday, February 18, 1999||
Volume 64, Issue 96
Administrators attempt to go 'Back to Basics'
|Ground broken for
new track/soccer facility
By Erik Williams
UH Track and Field head coach Leroy Burrell declared Wednesday "a great and exciting day" as ground was broken for the new UH Track/Soccer Complex.
The complex, which will be located directly behind the Athletics/Alumni Center, will be the new home of the Cougar track and field teams and women's soccer teams starting next year.
The new facility will feature a new scoreboard, seating for 3,500 people and press facilities. It will be built to host international meets as well as high school and college competitions.
Barry Watson/The Daily Cougar
"I am very proud to be giving back to the university," said former Olympic track star and UH alumnus Carl Lewis, who was a major contributor to the construction of the facility. "With all of the renovations to Hofheinz Pavilion and to Robertson Stadium, it's a mixture of the old and the new here."
Former UH track coach Tom Tellez commended Lewis' support. "There haven't been too many athletes that come back and give generously to their university and their sports," he said. "It's especially rare with athletes of Carl's caliber."
Tellez also mentioned the UH administration's support for Athletics. "This administration is very good for Athletics, which hasn't been totally true in the past," he said. "I'm thankful to Chet (Gladchuk) and the people that have donated money toward this. I think that now, we're able to compete with other major universities and the very best in the United States."
The new complex may boost track recruiting for UH, Burrell said. "When you've got the facilities, you can get the athletes. This is really going to be a ticket to our future," he said.
The new facility will benefit more people than just the athletes at UH, Lewis said. "People from all over town will be able to use this place," he said. "It's a far-reaching thing that's being built, and this mound of dirt is going to ultimately touch millions of people."
Construction has already begun on the new stadium, and it should be completed by May. After that point, Robertson Stadium will no longer be home to outdoor track and field events.
The Robertson track will be removed later this year as renovation and expansion of the stadium progresses. Many historic track events have been held in the stadium, including the NCAA Track and Field Championships in 1983, the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1986 and the 1982 and 1991 Southwest Conference Track and Field Championships.
Key contributors to construction of the stadium include Roy and Mary Cullen, Mike Baker, Lewis, Tellez, John and Julie O'Quinn, the Cullen Foundation and the Houston Athletics Foundation.