Sept. 8, 2005
By Jennifer Bissell, Iowa Sports Information
Home just got a little sweeter for the University of Iowa field hockey team.
On August 27th the new and greatly improved Grant Field was revealed before a crowd awaiting the opening game of the Big 10/ACC Challenge. While the Hawkeyes left the field winless, Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum remained optimistic about their new home.
"We are very excited. It is a state-of-the-art complex. It's not complete but it plays very differently from the old Grant Field."
The new Grant Field is located at the edge of the University's West Campus Project. The project, scheduled for completion next April, includes an outdoor soccer practice field, a tennis and recreation building, and the field hockey complex.
Upon completion, Grant Field is expected to be one of the best facilities in the nation. In addition to the improved playing field, the new facility offers locker rooms, concession stands, lights, restrooms, permanent grandstands and a press box.
"We are impressed with the field. But the design within the field is exceptional. With the surrounding two-toned turf being brand new, cushioned and forgiving, it's a great field," said Griesbaum.
The new facility could be what the Hawkeyes need to recruit some of the best players in the nation. Griesbaum is already excited about showing prospective Hawkeyes what their new home will look like.
In 1991 the previous home of the Hawkeyes, which has seen action since 1989, was named Grant Field after former University of Iowa Women's Athletics Director, Dr. Christine H.B. Grant. When it came time to name the new field, the decision was easy.
"She [Dr. Grant] is a legend. There wasn't even a question as to whether or not to keep the Grant name. We asked her if she would be opposed to moving. She was supportive and agreed that it was time," Griesbaum said.
Despite the fact that Iowa dominated opponents at the former Grant Field and had compiled an overall record of 103-21 at the facility, the field hockey team acknowledged it was time to find a new home.
"The old field was 16 years old and the maximum life for the turf was 10 years. It was time to go."
Despite losing their first two games on the new field, the Hawkeyes know that it will just be a matter of time before the new home is as dominating as the old one.
"We need more time on it. We only had two hours longer on it than any other team so it really doesn't feel like home yet. It will take some time for us to get used to, especially the juniors and seniors who are used to their old field."
With the season just underway, the Hawkeyes have plenty of time to establish a home field advantage. They still have nine more home contests, including the Big Ten Championships on November 4-6.