SMC Dedicates 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse – Leader Publications

SMC Dedicates 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse

Published 1:26 am Friday 19 August 2022

DOWAGIAC – Southwestern Michigan College’s dedication of the Source Bank Fieldhouse on Wednesday 1st celebrates an ambitious new era.

Last fall, SMC revived its legendary cross-country program after a 25-year hiatus. This fall, four other intercollegiate sports — men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and men’s wrestling — join the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) fight — also adding women’s competitive dancing, bass fishing and a pep band.

“A lot of hard work culminates tonight,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Tom Jerdon. “It all started with Coach [Ron] Gunn and the rich history he and our student-athletes created,” as told in the new Hall of Champions sponsored by Wolverine Mutual Insurance Co.

“It literally put SMC on the national map. Next up was President [David] Briegel, whose leadership propelled the college through financially strained years. In the 2000s, under the direction of Dr. David Mathews into first-class student housing and eventually built three 390-bed dormitories on campus. The Charles O. Zollar Building has been redesigned with the Student Activities Center. Make no mistake, without quality housing and the SAC renovation, we cannot recreate athletics in this era.”

In the 2010s, SMC remodeled Dowagiac’s academic buildings and Niles campus and “carefully reviewed priorities to reach this moment. For SMC, the time has come for this era with the convergence of these earlier strategies,” said Jerdon. “In my 30+ years on this board, we have never seen anything so unifying for our students, alumni and the college district,” well represented at a Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours.

“I’m so excited to say the Roadrunners are back!”

The tours showed the new field home plaza, video scoreboards, new locker rooms, a training room and the second floor McLoughlin Family Foundation Suite skybox.

“We have achieved a lot in 2 ½ years,” said President Dr. Joe Odenwald, despite global pandemic supply chain challenges. “There are three ingredients to building a great college – an enlightened board of trustees, competent administration, and committed faculty and staff. I added a fourth category, dedicated students. It built our college culture in the 1970s and will build our college culture in the 2020s and beyond. I’m adding a fifth today – generous donors and the community. It took the entire team effort of all five.

“This is our most complex and far-reaching endeavor since the college was founded in 1964. Throwing up a building is complex, but it’s about staff, like quality trainers; Jordan [Pitre] to advise each of these 107 student-athletes because the most important thing we do here is education. This is a great unifying experience for our quorum. As Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Wise advice for life and sport.”

Addressing the community, Odenwald said: “It took a long time for you to have teams again. I made two promises to more than 100 recruits who came through my office – you will play in the best facilities in Region XII of the NJCAA and you will not play in an empty gym but in a supportive environment. I need the community to figure this out. I have written many verbal checks that I need your help to clear.”

Athletic director Rodell Davis, men’s basketball coach, said, “This is the premier two-year college institution in the country. Our vision has three simple goals: We want to graduate our young men and women. Anyone who comes here and competes should leave with a degree. Second, we want them to be prepared for life, whether they’re entering the workforce or attending a four-year college. Third, we want to win with class and fight for championships. Our opponents will know they were in combat. We need support on game day. We want to do 1St Source Bank Fieldhouse the rowdiest neighborhood in the NJCAA. Be patient while we build this the right way.”

Dowagiac Chamber President Kris Soenen said: “Now that SMC has aligned the mission, donors and contractors, it is our job as a community to show team spirit. As we all know how important it is to shop locally, we need to cheer for the home team. With free admission, there are no excuses.”

Mike O’Brien, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, recognized key donors that include Midwest Energy and Communications; Spectrum Health/Lakeland, preferred provider of sports medicine and athletic training; Pepsi; Adidas; and Founders Club members.

He also recognized Abonmarche and architect Arvin Delacruz and general contractor Pearson Construction Co., Benton Harbor.

In the first official home game on Saturday, August 27 at 10:00 am, Jenny Nate’s volleyball team will face the Lake Michigan College Red Hawks of Benton Harbor and the North Central Michigan College Timberwolves of Petoskey.

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