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Campus Currents

Marty Scarano
Marty Scarano, UNH's new athletic director, plans to upgrade the university's athletic facilities. Photo by Gary Samson

Progress Is a Pile of Dirt

It's a dreary and drizzly day, and Marty Scarano, UNH's new athletic director, stands on the patio outside Lundholm Gymnasium, looking out over Mooradian Field. Drizzle be darned. He smiles broadly and points off into the distance, to a pile of dirt dumped behind the football stadium's scoreboard.

"That's the kind of guy I am, excited about a load of dirt," Scarano laughs. To him, the dirt represents progress--a solid first step in upgrading UNH's athletic facilities. The next time folks show up to watch a football game, the view from the stands and concourse above Mooradian Field will be very different.

Step one is a long-awaited track that will allow coach Jim Boulanger and his highly successful track-and-field athletes to have a home meet and train outdoors. They have not even trained on the track in years--"It's too dangerous," Boulanger says--and the last meet held there was in the early '80s.

Work on the $2.15-million project, funded largely by gifts from the late Reggie Atkins '28 and Leslie Hubbard '27, will begin in February. The official groundbreaking will be held on March 9, the 100th birthday of legendary UNH track-and-field coach Paul Sweet, who hopes to be in attendance.

Plans call for a 400-meter synthetic surface track and eight 42-inch wide lanes circling the football field. There will also be runways for the pole vault, jump pits for the long and triple jumps, a 3,000-meter steeplechase and space for throwing events. The new track will enable UNH to host its own meets each year, as well as championship high school and collegiate events. Landscaping will be done--hence Scarano's pile of dirt--to connect the tennis courts with the football and track area.

To make room for the track, the bottom 13 rows of the football stands will be removed. The visiting stands will also be removed, and temporary seating will be brought in to make the total capacity for football games about 6,000, a number Scarano thinks will be adequate. Scarano would also like to improve the football stadium in the not-too-distant future, and he has little doubt a finished track will spur excitement and get the football project moving as well. He hopes to have a facility with locker rooms and a press box built on the opposite side of the football field from the Field House, where the home stands would also be located.

Since his arrival last summer, Scarano has made it clear he doesn't think UNH's athletic facilities are up to snuff, nor do they represent the school well. A graduate of Penn State who came to Durham after jobs at Colorado College and Colgate, Scarano said early on that UNH should not have hired him if it didn't want him to change things.

His frank assessment of many of the facilities: "Tired, second class, drab." Scarano intends to do something about that--dirt pile by dirt pile.

--Allen Lessels '76

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