Story by Christina Cracolici, USM Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
GORHAM, Maine – This Fall the Huskies will be able to host their own version of Friday Night Lights as the University of Southern Maine and the Department of Athletics proudly announces the addition of lights to each of its outdoor facilities: Hannaford Field, Ed Flaherty Field and the USM Softball Stadium.
With construction beginning in late May, the Huskies' first official contest the lights is set for Friday, August 31 at 6:30 pm as the men's soccer team takes to Hannaford Field against regional opponent Westfield State.
"This is an incredibly exciting announcement for USM. State-of-the art lighting on all of our fields is a true game changer for the Athletic Department. This opens up many new possibilities and clearly supports the mission of the University and the Athletic Department in the areas of student recruitment and retention," said veteran Athletic Director and USM alumnus Al Bean. "Moving forward, we will have the ability to expand our practice and competition days, provide additional opportunities for all of our students and the community, and be able to host high school, Little East Conference and other major tournaments, as well as NCAA Championships. The addition of lights on Hannaford Field, Flaherty Field and the Softball Stadium gives USM some of the finest outdoor playing venues in the Northeast Region. My sincere thanks goes out to all our donors and the leadership of the University for making this wonderful addition possible."
Providing its nearly 500 student-athletes and the entire USM community with state-of-the-art outdoor playing facilities, the project, funded by a combination of fundraising efforts and University funds, includes four poles on Hannaford Field, six poles at the USM Softball Stadium, and eight poles at Ed Flaherty Field. Along with the many benefits provided for community use, championship hosting eligibility, and flexible practice and playing times, the construction of lights on each of the three fields increases the opportunity for revenue generation through summer camps, clinics, rentals and more.
"The installation of lights on our playing fields is an important and exciting upgrade to our Gorham campus. I'm thrilled that this will enhance the student experience here at USM, as well as provide new opportunities for area schools and athletic leagues to play under the lights. This is a win-win for USM and the community," said University president Glenn Cummings.
This transformative project will be celebrated prior to the start of the Huskies' first athletic contest of the 2018-2019 academic year. Join USM and the Department of Athletics for a pre-game ceremony on Friday, August 31 as we thank our donors and celebrate this vital facility improvement. Festivities are scheduled to begin a half hour prior to game time.