Ten years from now, few people will remember what Quinnipiac currently looks like. The same can be said for what the campus looked like 10 or 20 years ago. The campus has been going through a slow but constant metamorphosis over the last decade. First, the university, originally a college, built more dorms for students. In the late 1990’s, Quinnipiac built the state-of-the-art Arnold Bernhard Library. In 2002, Mountainview was constructed in a matter of months. The recreation center, weight room, and athletic center were then renovated into what is now a beautiful facility.
Quinnipiac has always been committed to its students, and now the school is fulfilling this commitment to the student-athletes. Originally a division 2 school, Quinnipiac made the leap into Division 1 in 2000. This marked a critical point in the school’s history. No longer living in the obscurity of a lower level division, QU was now at the top level. With this jump, the school faced the toughest competition in the country. If Quinnipiac was to succeed at this level, the school needed people committed to improving not only the campus, but the sports as well.
This lack of advancement is not due to a lack of funds though. When Quinnipiac made the climb up Division 2 and into 1, the school vowed to stay committed to academics. It has done this to the utmost of its ability, but it is now time for the athletics to experience the benefits of being in Division 1. With a state-of-the-art basketball and hockey arena in the works, the school will boost two of its biggest sports.
Not that the current gym and hockey arena are terrible facilities, but they are not up to par with what a Division 1 program should be playing in. Burt Kahn Court has played host to most of Quinnipiac’s basketball history, but it is now time for the court to become a part of QU basketball history. McDonald summed it up best when he said, “that gym is not the kind of place [where] you want to play Boston College in a basketball game.” Simply put, the gym could serve as a large high school gym.
Northford Ice Arena, the current home of both men’s and women’s hockey teams, is a comfortable rink, but many high school teams play in better settings than that. Plus, the team and its fans have to travel away from campus to see the games. The new facility will be built just 5 minutes away from the ever expanding campus and will offer far more than either of these outdated facilities ever have.
Another major step the school has taken can be seen in the increased television coverage of QU sports. Just three years ago, QU games were rarely, if ever, televised. The only time students could see a game on television was if a team was playing in a big game such as men’s basketball in the NEC championship or men’s hockey in the NCAA tournament. This year alone, men’s basketball has been televised eight times. Add to that two appearances each for women’s basketball and men’s hockey, and Quinnipiac has received the most coverage ever.
Basketball and hockey will not be the only teams reaping the benefits of new facilities. Quinnipiac is planning on installing an artificial turf field for lacrosse and field hockey. The field will be built across from Hogan Road sometime in the distant future. The intramurals program is not being left out of this though, as they will be able to utilize the field when none of the athletic teams are using it.
Softball and baseball will also upgrade their facilities in the future. Currently, the softball diamond is one of the best fields on campus and will require minimal upgrades. The baseball field will experience a face-lift, with new dugouts, a warning track and a press box.
The soccer field is currently in a good position, but the university hopes to make the layout more fan friendly. Better seating and more sideline space are desired. Quinnipiac is currently designing the best possible layout for the team and its fans.
As a whole, Quinnipiac has handled the jump to Division 1 with more ease than expected. This easy transition boils down to one solid reason; the university has focused on doing all of the little things for its students, athletes, coaches and faculty. “I think it’s been a phenomenal success, not just because of wins and losses. And frankly, wins and losses have been one of the successes but not the most important thing,” said McDonald “The most important thing has been the level that the coaches and students have risen to both athletically and academically.”