FAYETTEVILLE – In a tribute to the accomplishments of its men’s and women’s track and field programs, the University of Arkansas Athletic Department is set to begin construction of a new entrance and a series of championship exhibits for John McDonnell Field, the Razorbacks’ outdoor track and field facility. The entrance project will highlight the history and continued excellence of Razorback track and field with focus on the programs’ team and individual successes.
The entrance and plaza areas will be designed by Modus Studio with Flintco, Inc., serving as the general contractor. With construction scheduled to begin this month, the five-month timeline is aimed at a mid-November finish. The features of the project will be built outside of the facility gates to allow fans access year round.
The new entrance will feature an eight foot bronze statue of legendary former head coach John McDonnell who led the men’s program to 40 NCAA championships including five national triple crowns, 84 conference championships and 184 All-America performers.
On either side of the scoreboard in the north end of the facility, two exhibit areas will be constructed with one dedicated to the Razorbacks’ NCAA team titles and one highlighting the programs’ Olympians and World Championship participants. The scoreboard is also set to be bricked and sealed off with an affixed Razorback logo that will be illuminated at night. A second element of the project will highlight the University of Arkansas’ All-Americans and team conference titles.
The John McDonnell Field enhancement project is the latest investment in the Razorbacks’ championship track and field programs which has recently included the construction of the Fowler Family Baseball and Track Training Center, which is located on the north side of the Randal Tyson Track Center. The indoor training center will also for throwing events to be held on site along with providing an expanded warm-up area that includes four 60-meter sprint lanes. Prior to the 2014 season, the track surface at John McDonnell Field was resurfaced. John McDonnell Field remains one of only four IAAF Class 1 certified track and field complexes in the U.S. and was the first such facility on a collegiate campus.
In addition to its numerous regular-season meets, John McDonnell Field has earned national attention as the previous host site for the 2009 NCAA Championships, 2006 SEC Championships, 2008 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships and most recently, the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary. The entrance to John McDonnell Field is located on the northwest corner of the facility at the intersection of Meadow Street and Razorback Road.
The John McDonnell Field enhancement project will be funded through a combination of capital gifts and athletic revenues. Those interested in contributing to the project honoring Coach McDonnell and Razorback student-athletes, should contact the Razorback Foundation at (479) 443-9000.
What They’re Saying…
“We are extremely pleased that, in the near future, one of the nation’s finest outdoor track and field venues, will include recognition for the many student-athletes who have excelled for our men’s and women’s programs and together built the storied history of track and field at the University of Arkansas. We are thrilled that these additions will provide a wonderful opportunity to also fittingly honor Coach McDonnell, the most successful coach of any sport in NCAA history, with a statue that will serve as the centerpiece of a new spectacular entrance into John McDonnell Field. I want to thank those who have already provided support to honor Coach McDonnell and encourage others to step forward to help honor all those who have contributed to this remarkable legacy.”
– Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long
“I am excited that there will soon be a fitting tribute to the thousands of student-athletes who helped build the legacy of Razorback Track and Field. When you consider how the program started from scratch, the success we have had and continue to enjoy is amazing. When you are competing in the moment, it is hard to have a sense of the enormity of the accomplishments. But now, for student-athletes to be able to come back 15 to 20 years after they have finished their career and show their children their name as part of the University of Arkansas’ extraordinary success, that will truly be special.”
– Former Arkansas Men’s Head Coach John McDonnell
“This plaza is an incredibly meaningful project for the University of Arkansas as we’re able to honor Coach McDonnell with his bronze statue and recognize the tremendous history of our men’s and women’s programs. I want to thank all the donors who have made this project possible. Its location on Razorback Road between Razorback Stadium and Bud Walton Arena will allow for great access to all Razorback fans. We honor the past but it’s about our future and this project will elevate that mission. This is a one-of-a-kind project in collegiate track and field.”
– Arkansas Men’s Head Coach Chris Bucknam
“This project is an optimal opportunity to recognize the history and legacy of our program and its numerous All-Americans, national champions and conference champions. It goes a long way in featuring and re-telling the great history and on-going success of Arkansas track and field which is unmatched anywhere in the country.”
– Arkansas Women’s Head Coach Lance Harter
For more information about Arkansas track and field, follow @RazorbackMTrack and @RazorbackWTrack on Twitter.