SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Doerr Family Field, a "labor of love for all of us in the Cal Poly community," according to Mustang Director of Athletics Don Oberhelman, was officially dedicated Friday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
More than 100 Cal Poly staff and faculty, current Mustang student-athletes, football alumni and the media were on hand as Oberhelman, Richard A. and Kathleen M. Doerr and Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong cut the ribbon to inaugurate the $4.8 million facility.
"Thank you to everyone in the Mustang Family who supported us in this endeavor," Oberhelman added. "This would not have happened without our football supporters and our campus partners. Doerr Family Field will be an asset for the entire Mustang community."
"This will impact every student on campus this year, everyone that calls Cal Poly home and a lot of our alumni as well," said Armstrong. "I would like to thank everyone in the Cal Poly community who had a part in this project. This is a really good example of the partnership within the Cal Poly family, all in one accord for the successful completion of this project."
In particular, Armstrong recognized former Mustang football players Scott Cooper, Tom Gallo, Steve Jones, Jeff Jones, Mike Larrabee and Dick Doerr along with John Ronca, chair of the Athletic Directors Council.
Construction of Doerr Family Field began in July and the project includes a state-of-the-art 140-yard synthetic-turf practice field, allowing room for football sled work, along with goalposts, lights, a flagpole and a scoreboard. A pair of filming towers and Cal Poly branding are still to come.
The field will become the primary practice facility for Mustang football. For the past eight years, Cal Poly football players dressed in full gear have walked, biked or driven their cars a mile across campus to the upper fields of the Cal Poly Sports Complex for practice. No more.
"This means a lot to the program to have past Mustangs help us out as donors," said senior offensive lineman Harry Whitson. "Doerr Family Field shows the tremendous response they have made, and today's ceremony helped honor them and recognize their efforts to improve the football program."
Student-athletes from most of the 21 athletics teams at Cal Poly will be able to walk from their locker rooms in Mott Athletics Center to a new state-of-the-art synthetic-turf field adjacent to the refurbished Cal Poly Track.
"As a senior, it's awesome to have this facility," said quarterback Khaleel Jenkins. "It will save us a lot of time and energy and this field shows how tight knit the community of former Cal Poly football players is, helping the program out for many years to come."
"Doerr Family Field will have an immediate impact on the lives of our student-athletes," Mustang head football coach Tim Walsh said earlier this week. "Because of the field's location, proximity to the locker room, training room and weight room, the lives of our student-athletes will be significantly improved.
"This may be the single most-impactful addition in our football history," Walsh added. "Our players are so excited to get going with training and practicing in a truly beautiful facility!"
Donors to the project were joined by representatives of Cal Poly Athletics, Cal Poly Corporation, Cal Poly Housing and Associated Students, Inc. at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The multi-purpose field is the product of their collaborative efforts.
Richard A. Doerr is a member of the Cal Poly Foundation Board of Directors. He received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Cal Poly in 1966 and played football for the Mustangs from 1964-66.
Photos courtesy of Alexander Bohlen