Courtesy of Villanova Track and Field

Last Saturday, Nov. 11, the University’s varsity track and field and cross country programs unveiled and officially dedicated their new locker rooms. The ribbon cutting ceremony recognized and honored key donor Robert F. Moran ‘72 for his philanthropy and vision that was essential for the project. Adjacent to Villanova Stadium, the locker rooms are now situated where the previous varsity strength and conditioning facility was located and will serve as a central hub for both the men’s and women’s teams. An official press release featured on the team’s website notes that “the newly completed project… includes locker rooms for the men’s and women’s track & field and cross country student-athletes, a central lounge area, a multi-level workout space and an additional coach’s office.” This commemoration comes on the coattails of the completion of the program’s new offices located in Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. 

There is a central focus on the history and success of the track and field and cross country programs in the design of the locker room. This is most prominently featured with a mural that illustrates a “wall of champions.” Many of the program’s noteworthy athletes from its first champion Browning Ross, who won the 3000 meter steeplechase in 1948, to Pat Tiernan, who recently won the 2016 cross country individual championship. The mural depicts these athletes in the midst of victory as some display physical manifestations of hard work in the form of

Last Saturday, Nov. 11, the University’s varsity track and field and cross country programs unveiled and officially dedicated their new locker rooms. The ribbon cutting ceremony recognized and honored key donor Robert F. Moran ‘72 for his philanthropy and vision that was essential for the project. Adjacent to Villanova Stadium, the locker rooms are now situated where the previous varsity strength and conditioning facility was located and will serve as a central hub for both the men’s and women’s teams. An official press release featured on the team’s website notes that “the newly completed project… includes locker rooms for the men’s and women’s track & field and cross country student-athletes, a central lounge area, a multi-level workout space and an additional coach’s office.” This commemoration comes on the coattails of the completion of the program’s new offices located in Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. 

There is a central focus on the history and success of the track and field and cross country programs in the design of the locker room. This is most prominently featured with a mural that illustrates a “wall of champions.” Many of the program’s noteworthy athletes from its first champion Browning Ross, who won the 3000 meter steeplechase in 1948, to Pat Tiernan, who recently won the 2016 cross country individual championship. The mural depicts these athletes in the midst of victory as some display physical manifestations of hard work in the form of celebration and satisfaction that accompanied their triumphs.

Other examples that demonstrate the  tremendous achievement and prowess of the program are the record boards that enumerate the best times measurements and measurements in program history for each event in its respective season (cross country, indoor and outdoor). In both the men’s and women’s locker rooms, there is a comprehensive account of accolades for each team. Some of the statistics that the graphic exhibits are the amount of student-athletes earning all-academic honors, team conference championships and the number of olympians that each team has produced. 

Honoring the storied track and field tradition of achievement at the highest level of competition was a particular emphasis for Robert F. Moran ’72, whose philanthropic contributions were essential for both the locker rooms and office projects. At the ceremony, Moran gave some insight into the planning for these projects that started over seven years ago, when he and Head Coach of the men’s cross country and track & field teams and program director, Marcus O’Sullivan’ 84, first met. 

“When we started dreaming together, we talked about what we could do for the tradition of Villanova track & field and cross country and the future of the program,” Moran said. “We started talking about how we could put a dream together that would last for the next 25 to 50 years.” 

Track has been a significant passion for Moran, and his gift to the program will foster a harmony between the ability to pay homage and revere the historic accomplishments of the program as well as inspire future generations of champions. 

While winning is certainly a focal point of the facility, there is also tremendous attention on the path and components that are vital to earning that success. The entry way into the men’s track and field locker room echoes the words of St. Augustine and his teachings of “the higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation.”

 This core principle of preparation is cultivated in the form of a wall featuring fundamental phrases such as the “will to prepare,” the “will to grow” and the “will to learn.” Ultimately, the program strives to ground itself in the University’s tradition and values as these messages are the first words that a track and field student-athlete sees as they prepare for practice and one of the last remarks they receive as they exit the facility. 

Senior Zach Swenson has already begun to internalize the importance that this addition has to the program “The new locker rooms are incredible,” Swenson said. “The wall of champions, the record boards, the Penn Relays wheels—it reminds you of the rich history of the program and what a privilege it is to be a part of it.”

As a result of the generosity of Robert Moran and his collaboration with Coach O’Sullivan and women’s track and field and cross country Head Coach Gina Procaccio ‘87 , the newly unveiled locker rooms have created something special. Both O’Sullivan and Procaccio conveyed their profound gratitude to Moran and indicated the difference his philanthropy has made in terms of inspiration as well as the “wow factor” that the facility’s physical appearance and multi-faceted purpose incessantly fosters. 

Moran is a firm believer in giving back and has focused his charity towards the University in particular. Besides his gift to the Track and Field program, it should be noted that Moran has also committed $5 million towards the endowment to name the Center for Global Leadership in the Villanova School of Business. This center will bear his namesake as “The Elenore and Robert F. Moran Sr. Center for Global Leadership,” which will support the dynamic and innovative focus of the institute by providing funding for faculty research, curricular development and student scholarships for international studies.

“I attribute a significant amount of my success to the great education I received at Villanova University,” Moran said in a press release from 2014. “I feel that my 16 years of working internationally helped drive my future success and I want to pass along that same opportunity to VSB students...Together with Coach Marcus O’Sullivan, we have a vision to make Villanova one of the preeminent track and field programs in the country.”