One way to upgrade an athletic program is by improving its facilities.
Husson University’s Bob O’Keefe Field, home of the two-time North Atlantic Conference champion softball team, is undergoing a facelift.
And first-year athletic director Bob Reasso is optimistic the improvements will be in place by the time the Eagles open their home schedule against the University of Maine on Wednesday.
Reasso said there will be new sliced-block fencing behind the backstop extending from one dugout to the other; new poles and netting behind the backstop, replacing the old fencing and providing spectators with a better view. The bleachers added to the facility last spring will be moved closer to the field, the bullpens will be improved and fenced in, and the dirt infield will be resurfaced.
“This is the next step in the upgrading of the facility,” said Reasso. “This gives it a whole different feel. We want this to eventually become a state-of-the-art stadium. It’s already a wonderful facility but we want to make it even better.”
He said the funds for the upgrade came from 1967 Husson University graduate Bob O’Keefe and his wife, Fran.
He wasn’t sure of the cost but said Husson is lucky to have two donors like the O’Keefes.
“Their generosity allowed us to make the improvements to the field,” said Reasso.
He added the O’Keefes “very much wanted (softball coach Amanda Davey) to have a say in the improvements. I respect that. Nobody knows better than the coach (what improvements are needed). Amanda was very involved in the process.
“We have an outstanding softball program led by a great coach,” added Reasso.
Husson has gone 28-0 in North Atlantic Conference play and 54-31 overall the past two seasons. They won the conference tournaments and played in the NCAA Division III Tournament each year.
Husson went 3-7 on their recent trip to Arizona.
Reasso said another facility improvement he would like to make would be to put lights on the Boucher Field, where the soccer and lacrosse teams play.
“We’re fundraising for it now,” said Reasso, who estimated the cost at between $220,000 and $300,000 and hopes to have the lights added within two years.
“It would be a game-changer,” said Reasso. “It would also allow us to serve the community more.”
Reasso has formed a fundraising committee called the Eagles Club headed up by basketball coach Warren Caruso.
“We already have 19 corporate sponsors,” said Reasso.
USM’s Cochran earns awards
University of Southern Maine junior forward Courtney Cochran of Waite and Woodland High School has been named to the 2011 New England Women’s Basketball Association All-Region second team. It was chosen by the member coaches.
The 6-foot-1 Cochran, who was also an All-Little East and Maine Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-State first-team selection, led the Huskies in scoring (15.1 points per game) and rebounding (10.7 rpg).
She had 16 double-doubles, six games with 20 or more points and 18 games with 10 or more rebounds.
She shot 45.7 percent from the floor and 77.8 percent from the foul line.
Her 311 rebounds were fourth-best in school history.
“Courtney committed herself during the off-season with the goal of improving her game and earning playing time,” USM head coach Gary Fifield said in a press release. “Her hard work and dedication paid off as she had a tremendous season while developing into one of the top post players in the region.”