AVE MARIA, Fla. (June 26, 2017) —Today, Ave Maria University announced plans to add an artificial turf multi-purpose field to campus that will be home to the Gyrenes football, soccer and lacrosse teams. The field will be constructed where the current football field is located and will cost approximately $650,000. The University expects to complete installation of the new field before the Gyrenes’ first home football game on Saturday, September 2, 2017.
Head football coach Joe Patterson, who is starting his second season with the team, says, “The artificial field will allow for perfect drainage and a consistent surface, both of which are nearly impossible on a grass field in Southwest Florida. The new field will have a transformative impact on the program, especially in regards to our practices and games.”
Coach Patterson has more than two decades of experience as a football coach, his most recent tenure as head football coach at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C. During his time there, 79 of his players went on to play Division I-A or I-AA football. He also coached eight All-Americans, including five Under Armour All-Americans.
Ave Maria’s soccer teams and the women’s lacrosse team will also will use the new artificial turf field. The field is expected to positively impact recruiting, increase player safety, and will improve game time experiences.
Coach Patterson adds, “The commitment to a new field demonstrates well that outdoor sports are a priority for the University. The players and coaches are extremely excited.”
Ave Maria’s athletic teams are members of The Sun Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Ave Maria football program begins a new chapter in 2017 as they will participate in their first season in the Sun Division of the Mid-South Conference.
The Athletic Department at Ave Maria has grown from six varsity level sports in 2008-09, to 16 varsity-level programs for the 2017-18 season, with over 40% of students competing on athletic teams. Visit Ave Maria’s Athletics website for schedules, team rosters and stories: http://www.avemariagyrenes.com.
Ave Maria University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution of higher learning devoted to Mary the Mother of God, inspired by St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, and dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional followers of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service.  The University was founded in 2003 and moved to its permanent campus in the fall of 2007.  Ave Maria enrolled 1,102 students for the 2016-17 academic year, including 1,042 undergraduates, and offers 33 majors as well as graduate studies in Theology.  Students from 45 states and 20 countries comprise a student body that is approximately 85% Catholic, 25% minority, and evenly-divided between men and women.  AMU’s state-of-the-art campus includes residence halls with a capacity for 1,300 students and rests on a tract of over 300 acres in Southwest Florida near Naples.  For more information on Ave Maria University, visit https://www.avemaria.edu.