By Jason Rich ’98
Rev. Maurus Fitzgerald, O.F.M., the first athletic director at Siena, once publicized his vision for the athletic department, saying he hoped “one day Siena would gain the same national fame in basketball that has been achieved in football by Notre Dame.”
An audacious goal for sure, but an early sign that the College realized the impact a strong athletics department could have on its future. Recently, the spirit of Fitzgerald’s vision has come to life again.
When Ronald Moore’s three-pointer swished through the net in Dayton, Ohio, sending the Saints to an improbable 74-72 overtime win over Ohio State University, Siena was the darling of the 2009 NCAA Tournament for a second straight season. Alumni across the globe wore their green and gold with pride.
The success of our men’s basketball team during its magical three-year run from 2008-10 transformed the College in a number of ways. Siena was able to broadcast its message on a national stage, alumni were inspired and engaged and students made memories they will have for the rest of their lives.
This experience is something Siena wants to offer on a consistent basis, but achieving that objective requires enhanced athletic facilities. The proposed renovation of the Alumni Recreation Center will provide coaches with the ability to attract top-tier student athletes and develop them into champions.
“This is the missing piece to the puzzle,” said Jimmy Patsos, the new men’s head basketball coach. “Everyone has big goals for what our program can become. We’ve got a lot of good things in place here, but there’s also work that needs to be done. The proposed renovations will have a tremendous impact on the type of student athletes we’re able to recruit.”
The ARC project includes a new 8,360 square foot basketball practice court, men’s and women’s basketball team rooms, locker rooms, a video room, new academic support center, strength and conditioning and sports medicine spaces, new varsity locker rooms and coaches’ offices for other varsity sports, and an enhanced fitness center for the general student population.
The cornerstone of the plan is a complete overhaul of the main playing court in the ARC, to include premium seats with chair backs, retractable seating and a new video scoreboard. It will serve as the home court for Siena women’s basketball and volleyball.
“We’re so excited about the future of our program, and this is a big reason why,” said Ali Jaques, second-year women’s basketball head coach. “Everyone knows Siena is a special place because of the fan support we get and what our basketball programs mean to the community. The renovated ARC will elevate us to a new level and provide us with an unrivaled home court advantage.”
It will also bring Siena one step closer to fulfilling Fr. Fitzgerald’s dream.
Renovated Marcelle Athletic Complex
Renovated Alumni Recreation Center
New basketball practice court