Athletics to celebrate seven decades of Lions

by Matt Couture / Beacon Staff • April 19, 2017

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Emerson athletics will honor past stars for its 70th anniversary.
Emerson athletics will honor past stars for its 70th anniversary.

When Senior Associate Director of Athletics Stan Nance first arrived at Emerson in 2003, the athletics office was tucked away just past the Securitas desk in Little Building. Trophies in the window were the only way to distinguish the space from any other campus department.

Staffers could walk across the street to watch Emerson softball games on Boston Common. But basketball was played at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, and the baseball, lacrosse, and soccer teams all used city parks and recreation facilities in East Boston. 

As Emerson athletics prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary at a June 3 banquet in the Skybox of the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym, alumni won’t have to look far to see the changes in the Emerson Lions landscape. The gym, which also houses athletics’ offices, was built in 2006, and has provided a centralized location for team practices as well as a physical space to show off to recruits, Nance said. 

“It gave us an opportunity that when students visit campus, they didn’t have to ask where you play,” Nance said.

When Nance was hired, there was only one full-time head coach, he said, but now all coaches are full-time except cross-country head coach John Furey. The 70th anniversary celebration will also highlight Emerson’s partnership with the city to use Rotch Playground and Field for softball, soccer, and lacrosse games, which started in 2005.

The event will allow the college to appeal to alumni for support, both financially and professionally. Nance said past internship opportunities, such as a chance to work with alumnus Trevor Gooby in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, proved valuable for Emerson student-athletes.     

Nance said the June gathering will feature a slideshow, including photos unearthed from archives that go back to the 1940s. He hopes the recent upgrades will be a source of pride for graduates who helped build sports at the school.

“Now we’ve got an athletic logo, we’ve got a gym, we’ve got Rotch Field, we’ve got signage down there that says ‘Emerson plays here,’” Nance said. “I think it’s something that can make all of them proud, because they probably wish that they had it when they were here.”