Navy athletics proposes $22 million state-of-the-art, on-campus facility dedicated to lacrosse

By Bill Wagner

Capital Gazette

Jan 25, 2023 at 4:53 pm

Navy athletics announced Wednesday afternoon plans to construct a state-of-the-art facility overlooking the Severn River for the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs.

What will be known as the Navy Lacrosse Center will be a 33,000-square-foot, two-story facility. It is projected to cost $22 million and open by 2026.

The Naval Academy Athletic Association, in conjunction with the USNA Foundation, has accepted a leadership gift from an anonymous donor earmarked for constructing a dedicated on-campus lacrosse facility that will be located adjacent to the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.

A press release issued Wednesday stated the process is advancing in cooperation with Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Washington and is pending final endorsement by the Secretary of the Navy.

“Today, Division I lacrosse programs that aspire to be national champions have dedicated resources, staffing and facilities that reflect the ongoing pursuit of that goal,” Naval Academy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in the release.

Gladchuk noted that Navy has a storied history of “incredible success over many decades” in lacrosse and said such a facility would reaffirm the institution’s “ambitions to reclaim national prominence” in the sport.

“This building would stand as a declaration that our midshipmen will have every resource possible addressing their health, welfare, team unity, physical conditioning and nutritional needs contributing to their personal development as an athlete, a leader, a winner and eventually a confident commissioned officer within the fleet,” Gladchuk said in the release.

An artist’s rendering of the Navy Lacrosse Center along with an accompanying video depicted a facility that would celebrate the history and traditions of Navy lacrosse, while serving as a testament to the Naval Academy’s commitment to the physical mission of the Brigade of Midshipmen.

All Navy men’s and women’s varsity players would train, learn and build relationships in one of college lacrosse’s preeminent facilities. Every area and detail of the Navy Lacrosse Center is designed for the development of the academy’s student-athletes and would provide the resources for the Navy men’s and women’s lacrosse programs to compete for and win championships at the highest level, the release states.

Coaches’ offices, locker rooms and wardrooms for both the men’s and women’s programs would provide cutting-edge technology and amenities to include athletic training and rehabilitation spaces, a strength and conditioning facility, a nutrition center and theater.

Additionally, a rooftop terrace that will feature a 360-degree view of the Naval Academy and the Severn River is planned and would provide an inviting gathering space for recruits and their families, as well as a space to host alumni functions.

“All of us at Navy lacrosse could not be more grateful for the generosity from donors to date and the support of the Naval Academy leadership to get this landmark project off the ground,” fourth-year Navy men’s lacrosse coach Joe Amplo said in the release. “Breaking ground would be a monumental day for Navy lacrosse, as this facility would make a major impact on our program for generations. “

Men’s lacrosse has been a varsity sport at the Naval Academy since 1908 and well into the 1970s was among the nation’s elite programs. The Midshipmen had three legendary head coaches in George Finlayson, William “Dinty” Moore and Willis Bilderback.

Navy was awarded the Wingate Memorial Trophy as Division I national champion eight times during the 1960s, which became known as the “Decade of Dominance” under Bilderback.

Navy women’s lacrosse was elevated to varsity status in 2008 and has been led ever since by Hall of Fame head coach Cindy Timchal. The Midshipmen have captured six Patriot League Tournament championships and qualified for the NCAA Tournament seven times.

Timchal, the all-time winningest coach in college lacrosse history (men or women) said the proposed facility would be a “true testament to the love and commitment” the Naval Academy has for the varsity lacrosse programs. She thanked the administration, donors and Navy lacrosse supporters for making “this vision a reality.”

“This facility could represent the best of the best in lacrosse for training and preparation,” Timchal said in the release. “This level of alumni support already shows an unwavering dedication to the Navy athletics mission and a pledge to winning at the highest level.”