The fabled Temple Stadium and Erny Field have been the home fields for Owls’ athletics for years.
Located in the Mount Airy section of the city, both have been the backdrop for athletic competition since the 1920s.
But those years have come to an end.
Temple’s baseball, softball and soccer teams will conduct practices and play home games on new fields at the Ambler campus next spring.
This season both teams will continue to play at Erny Field.
The decision to construct new fields had been in the works since the University sold the Temple Stadium property nearly two years ago.
The University’s Board of Trustees then approved the proposal to construct new University-funded playing fields on Ambler’s campus.
The baseball and softball teams will continue to lease the current fields from Enon Baptist Church until the end of this season.
Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams will begin their 2003-04 campaign on a fresh field at Ambler.
According to Temple University’s Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw, the move to Ambler is motivated by necessity.
“Its an immediate and attractive opportunity for our four sports who were in need of a site for competition,” Bradshaw said.
“When we sold the property [Temple Stadium], we had no fields,” Bradshaw said.
“So this fulfills that need. Not having the space here at our Main Campus to properly construct regulation facilities required a need to go elsewhere. The Ambler site more than fulfills our need for that kind of space.”
Bradshaw also said the move to Ambler might improve the attendance level of the student body at the sporting events.
“Before the move, the sites were off-campus anyway. They were between campuses,” he said.
“The fact that the [sites of the new fields] are on one of our campuses gives us access to more students who may now see the contests for sure.”
Bradshaw is also aware that some students may complain that the new fields are located 12 miles further from Main Campus.
But Temple is also looking to attract a following from Ambler and the Upper Dublin community.
Temple University facilities manager Lee Roberts said there were plans in the works to construct buildings for weight training and other accommodations.
Roberts also applauded Temple University President David Adamany for his initiative to improve the University’s Division I programs.
“I think the president needs to be commended for making a commitment,” Roberts said.
“It’s a tremendous commitment. It comes down to recruiting and things like that. It’s a tremendous boost for all of our programs and our administration.”
Members of Temple’s baseball team also say the grass is greener on the Ambler side.
However, they also agree that the extra travel may be a slight burden.
“I like the fact that we’re getting a new facility, but I think it’s tough that it’s so far away from Main Campus,” catcher Mike Brown said. “I guess we’ll just have to deal with it, though.”
Pitcher Tim Andrel echoed Brown’s sentiments.
“I think it’s pretty cool that were actual going to have a field on a campus,” Andrel said.
“Hopefully it will bring in some more fans. It’s going to be a pain traveling from here to there, but it’s better than traveling [to an off campus site].”
Kim Watkins, a pitcher on the softball team, said she was excited to be getting a new stadium, but also had some reservations about traveling.
“I’d much rather have it on [Main Campus],” Watson said. “But, considering that we don’t have the land, at least it’ll be a lot nicer.”
Calvin Gorrell can be reached at Cgorrell@temple.edu