A new lacrosse stadium in the works, as the Stags continue to win

Seating capacity of 3,500 will remain the same, but bleachers will span both sides of the field, relieving “pinch points” and allowing space to walk freely around the perimeter of the field. The majority of the seating will be shifted to the west side. The entire field will be shifted slightly east and south, and construction will take advantage of existing elevated grades on the east side. The playing surface will be a high quality artificial turf complemented by the state-of-the-art lighting and video scoreboard. Adequate bathrooms, concessions, and visiting team locker rooms will be constructed in the concourse area, and an attractive press box, complete with two VIP suites and center-field camera locations for television broadcasting, will sit at the top of the main grandstands.

While primarily a lacrosse stadium, other teams will continue to use the field, including Fairfield Prep football, soccer, and lacrosse, and other University club and intramural teams.

“The new stadium will have much better functionality,” noted Frassinelli, “When fans come to Rafferty Stadium, there will be a definite sense of arrival.”

Ready to roll

The estimated cost of the stadium is approximately $9 million. With the Rafferty family gift and other pledges from alumni and parents, approximately two-thirds of that amount has now been committed with fundraising efforts continuing to raise the rest. The project is fully approved by the Town of Fairfield and the construction documents are almost complete. The University’s goals are to start construction next spring and complete Rafferty Stadium by the start of the 2015 lacrosse season.

“We’ll now be able to host conference championships and state high school championships,” Doris said. “There’s no question that Rafferty Stadium will bring Fairfield greater exposure and recognition nationally. It really is a strategic investment in our University.”

A new stadium, talented student-athletes, great coaching, and top-ranked opponents — all in a popular, fast-growing sport. In the world of lacrosse, Fairfield is poised to be a perennial contender on the national scene.

Visit www.fairfield.edu/newstadium to view an animated illustration of the new stadium.

National Championship Ambitions

by John Torsiello

Fairfield University Athletics Director Gene Doris, the ultimate goal for the men’s lacrosse team is simple but lofty: to win an NCAA Championship.

“That is attainable,” he said. “I believe the men’s lacrosse program is on track to be in the top 10 annually.”

Recent facts back Doris up. Two years ago, under the guidance of head coach Andy Copelan – now in his fifth year at the post – the Stags were ranked as high as 13th in the nation, and finished the season ranked 17th with wins over Ohio State, Air Force, and Denver.

Last year, Fairfield finished 8-7 with impressive victories over the Naval Academy, Michigan, Hobart, Air Force, and Denver, reaching the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) tournament semifinals. Under Copelan, the Stags have enjoyed a 35-24 mark and have shown they can compete with the best Division I lacrosse programs in the nation.

Fairfield has become a very attractive choice for the best high school players in the nation. Recruits for 2013-14 hail from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, and Washington State.

This year’s Stags will have a good mix of strong upperclassmen who will lead the newcomers. “We have a strong senior class that has matured appropriately during their time on campus and ultimately we will go as far as they take us,” he said.

The Stags will also be moving to a new conference in 2015, moving from ECAC to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), which has been a premier lacrosse league since its inception.

“The landscape of lacrosse has dramatically changed in the past 10 years,” Doris explained. “Very few all-sport conferences sponsored the sport, and so the only conferences that existed were single-sport conferences like the ECAC, which was a pioneer. As the sport has grown, all-sport conferences began to sponsor lacrosse. As a result, the ECAC, arguably the best conference over the past three years, could not sustain itself. We are fortunate, because of our recent success, that the Colonial Athletic Association welcomed us.”

Drexel, Hofstra, St. Joseph’s, and Towson universities are in the CAA, as well as the universities of Delaware and Massachusetts.

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