Thinking back on my recruiting trip to Drew University, there was one thing I seem to remember my future coach not showing me. I am not talking about Ranger Stadium with its rather unique AstroTurf/cement-like field, but the locker rooms. Once setting foot on campus for the first time as a student athlete I saw why I was not shown the lockers. Picture this: your middle school gym class lockers – you know the ones – that were so dented that you couldn’t even close them properly. Now slightly elongate them, and now you have your Drew locker. As a lacrosse player, this is somewhat problematic, as I have an obnoxious amount of equipment to put away.
Drew athletes would see brighter days, however, with help from Athletic Director Jason Fein and the Rangers coaching staff. The 16 year old AstroTurf has been replaced with a high-end field turf that both improves the overall appeal of Ranger Stadium and makes for safer athletic competition. Next on the list were the locker rooms. The Drew University Athletic Department has recently renovated this vital part of the University’s athletic facilities, giving the Rangers brand new top-of-the-line wooden lockers. Now, each Ranger athlete has a spacious wooden locker with two cubbies, one open and one with a lock, along with a bottom compartment to be used as more storage space for athletic equipment.
“Long overdue” were the words used by Fein to best describe the recent overhaul. Fein attributes the quick and orderly progress to the entire Athletic Department, along with the much-needed support of the Blue and Green Club, fundraisers and parents. “It helps the overall mentality of our athletic program,” added Fein. The lockers will add a big attraction to future recruits, in turn bringing more revenue to the University.
It was indeed a race to the finish, as not all the teams were going to enjoy the new lockers. The second set of lockers were finished a week into the spring semester, and were by no means a guarantee during the fall semester. However, through diligent efforts by the Athletic Department, the coaching staff, athletes’ parents and alumni, enough money was raised during the fall semester and winter break.
The new locker rooms have been a welcomed addition in the eyes of Drew athletes. “I like them, anything is better than what we used to have,” said men’s basketball player Pat Dorsey (’13). “It was like a locker room out of Average Joe’s Gym.”
“The new lockers definitely added to the environment, the locker room became a place to bond, chat and joke with your teammates,” said men’s soccer player Kevin Walpole (’13).
“The locker room is now more spacious, we can fit our sticks in our lockers and we have more room to hang out together before games,” said field hockey player Alexandria De Sousa (’13).
Athletic trainer Jennifer Rockett thinks that this is exactly what the athletic program needs. “It puts us on par with our competition,” said Rockett. “It shows that we are invested in our athletics.”
So what’s next for the Drew University Athletic Program? The list is still long, according to Fein. Some improvements that athletes may see in the future include: new bleachers, new away locker rooms, improvements to the baseball and softball fields, a new weight room and an updated Hall of Fame room. All these improvements cost a great deal of money and will take time, but Fein is adamant on striving to continuously improve the overall athletic experience for Drew’s student athletes.