January 18, 2017
By Mike Killeen
Gagliardi Field at Saint John's University will have as many uses as its namesake had college football wins.
OK, we're probably stretching the truth here a little bit. It might be hard to find enough uses to match the 489 wins that John Gagliardi accumulated in 64 years of coaching football, including the last 60 years at SJU, to become the winningest coach in college football history.
But it's safe to say that Gagliardi Field and its seasonal dome will be a busy, versatile place for students from the College of Saint Benedict and SJU to practice and recreate.
Gagliardi Field is a 120-yard, regulation, artificial turf football field. From approximately mid-October until mid-April, it will be covered by a seasonal dome.
The dome is open to every member of the CSB and SJU community during open hours, free of charge.
It's not just a practice site for the Johnnies' football team. It's being used by a variety of students who participate in varsity, club and intramural sports (90 percent of all Johnnies participate in one form of activity or another).
Besides the lines for a football field, the field is also lined for rugby, lacrosse and soccer. There are also batting cages for baseball and netting for golf.
But wait, it gets better. The Bob Alpers Golf Learning Center — named for the SJU athletic director, golf coach and 2010 inductee into the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame —- is located on the north side of the field/dome.
The center, measuring almost 1,800 square feet, includes two hitting bays that feature TrackMan technology, two putting greens and mats to hit chip shots. The TrackMan technology allows golfers to measure their club speed, launch angle and spin rate. It can also be used as a golf simulator to play famous courses like Pebble Beach, Augusta National or St. Andrew's.
Then, after working with the technology, players can hit shots into netting in the multi-purpose dome.
You can also call the dome desk at 363-2722 during open hours.
The dome is also available to rent for teams, groups and birthday parties. Contact Nicci, or call her at 363-3296 for more information and availability.
Both the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University have projects underway to improve athletic facilities.
CSB has begun work on the College Avenue Athletic Fields complex, which is located between Centennial Commons and Renner House.
When completed, the complex will include two soccer/lacrosse fields; two softball fields; three intramural/multi-use fields; and an athletic center featuring dedicated locker rooms and a training room. The athletic center will be built to a LEED Silver sustainable building standard, and will include LED site and field lighting. All of the storm water and runoff from the site will be contained to protect waterways.
In addition to work on the complex, new bleacher seating has been installed at Claire Lynch Hall, home of the CSB volleyball and basketball teams.
Meanwhile, outdoor tennis courts are returning to the SJU campus with the completion of the Chang Tennis Complex. The complex, to be dedicated in late April, includes seven courts, bleachers, lighting, fences with wind screens and a "bang board" for practice.
The tennis complex, which has been made possible through the generosity of Paul Winter '61 in honor of his wife, Dr. Lian Chang, is located beyond the left field fence of Becker Park, the Johnnies' baseball home.