Albion College Athletic Director Matt Arend stood before a crowd of 100 people Sept. 18, 2016 and watched as the dream became reality.
"This is a project that's been on paper for five years," he said as he spoke at the dedication of the Davis Athletic Complex. "When I was hired in July of 2011, I was shown a piece of paper and was told 'This is a project we're doing. We're going to get it approved by the Board [of Trustees] in 30 days.'
"For three or four years we continued to tweak it and revise it," Arend continued. "We continued to talk to friends and alumni and parents who we thought would be supportive of the project."
Finally, thanks to the generosity of Bud and Olivia Davis, longtime Albion residents and friends of the College who donated more than $1 million to the $6 million project, the project came to fruition.
Ground was broken in mid-April for the Davis Athletic Complex, which includes Alumni Field, the competition facility for the men's and women's soccer and lacrosse programs, and Champions Stadium at Frank Joranko Field for baseball and Dempsey Field for softball. All of the facilities are brought together by a main entrance, walkway and plaza.
The softball team played its first doubleheader on the new Dempsey Field March 29, 2017.
Along with their playing fields, the baseball and softball teams enjoy amenities of a batting cage, and bullpens to accommodate three pitchers.
"While people are what make Albion a special place, facilities like this are essential to get prospective student-athletes and their families to visit Albion," President Mauri Ditzler said during the dedication ceremony. "Thanks to the generous gift of the Davis family and many alumni, this complex will show off Albion for many years to come."
"Facilities don't win championships," he told the crowd, which included Bud Davis, who was presented with a gold construction helmet in appreciation for his generosity. "What facilities do is show how important it is to help student-athletes become the best they can be. Facilities show that institutions are committed to helping student-athletes, and I don't think there's any question that this complex accomplishes that."
Albion College firsts at Dempsey Field
First Games: March 29, 2017 (Albion played Defiance College in a non-league doubleheader)
First Pitch: Thrown by Madison Kortas at 3:35 p.m.
First Albion Hit: Angela Hoffsis singled as Albion's leadoff batter in the first inning
First Albion Extra-Base Hit: Kara Suwarsky clubbed a double in the second game of the April 26, 2017 doubleheader against Calvin
First Albion RBI: Bri Charron hit a RBI single in the second inning of game two against Defiance
First Albion Victory: The Britons defeated Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association rival Calvin College, 8-1, in the second game of the April 26, 2017 doubleheader
First Albion Winning Pitcher: Madison Kortas pitched the complete game (a run on six hits and two walks) in the 8-1 victory over Calvin