Press Release for Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Brian Morgan, Director
Athletics Media Relations
– The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee announced Tuesday that the University of North Florida will host one of two preliminary rounds for the 2012 NCAA Division I Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Competition is scheduled for May 24-26, 2012.
The University of Texas, in Austin, was named as host for the West preliminary round competition.
“This is a significant event that brings a lot of track student-athletes, coaches and fans to a campus and community,” said Todd Patulski, chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee and deputy athletics director at Baylor. “North Florida [is a] quality site that will provide first-class facilities, staff and a commitment to the event.”
“We are excited about this opportunity to bring a national level track competition to the North Florida campus and the city of Jacksonville,” said UNF Athletic Director Lee Moon. “We have a tremendous facility and are looking forward to working with the city of Jacksonville to provide a first-class experience for everyone involved. We consider this the first step in our ultimate goal of hosting an NCAA Championship Final along with other national and international competitions.”
“Jacksonville’s growing sports market has chalked up another victory,” added Mayor Alvin Brown. “This is a fantastic opportunity for the city and UNF to charm thousands of visitors while continuing to build a strong national profile to draw major sporting events. This will allow us to move Jacksonville to the next level.”
“This is such an exciting event,” said UNF President John A. Delaney. “This will allow us to showcase not only our athletic facilities, but also the rest of our campus, to a wide audience.”
UNF will host the East preliminary round competition for the first time in school history at Hodges Stadium, which also has served as host for the Atlantic Sun Conference Outdoor Track Championships since 2009.
“It is a tremendous honor to join the exclusive club of track & field programs that have hosted NCAA Championship events,” said UNF Head Track & Field Coach/ Assistant Athletic Director for Track & Field. “It is an even greater opportunity for our student-athletes to have a chance to compete at an NCAA Championship event on their home track.”
Serving as home to UNF’s track & field and soccer teams, the 9,400-seat Hodges Stadium was opened in January 2004. It was renamed Hodges Stadium after a generous gift of $2 million from George and Kernan Hodges announced in October 2006.
After the installation of seating in the existing stands, a completed press box and field/track lighting during 2007, the final phase of construction was completed in August 2008 with the installation of the 9 lane Olympic quality track with Mondotrack SX surface. The track has full markings for all NCAA and IAAF events, including the ability to run directional events in either direction on either straight. All field event areas are within the stadium, including 4 horizontal jump pits, 8 pole vault locations, and multiple areas for each throwing event. Rounding out the package, the facility includes a full 400m, 3 lane warm-up track and brand new IAAF certified equipment provided by UCS.
“This announcement is truly validation for the vision of a committed group of people at UNF,” added Moon. “The dream started more than a decade ago with former University President Adam Herbert, moved forward under the guidance of former Athletic Director Dr. Richard Gropper and reached its completion with the support of President John Delaney. In addition, we wouldn’t have this tremendous opportunity without the original gift by the Hodges’ family and the tireless work of the Osprey Club especially Dr. (Arthur) Buster Browning and Tony Weight.”
Hodges Stadium is one of just nine facilities in the U.S. to receive IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) certification. It is currently certified as a Class II facility though it is built to Class I standards.
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