Catawba to play football games at Salisbury High for 2002 season

   The Salisbury Post, Staff report (June, 25, 2002)

Tribe erects temporary tepee

If you build it, they will come. If it's not ready, you call an audible.

Catawba College's football program officially opted for Plan B this week, as school officials confirmed speculation that renovated Shuford Stadium, where the Tribe has played home games since 1926, won't be ready.

As in, really, really not ready. Not ready for the first scheduled home game on Sept. 21 against Fayetteville State - and not ready for the entire 2002 season.
Catawba officials announced Friday that the venue for the Indians' four 2002 home games has been shifted to Ludwig Stadium on the campus of Salisbury High.

South Rowan, West Rowan and A.L. Brown high schools also expressed interest in serving as a temporary haven for the Tribe. Athletic Director Dennis Davidson and first-year head coach Chip Hester visited all of them.

Everyone was very gracious to us, very understanding of our predicament, said Davidson. Any of those schools would have been a great venue for us, but in the end, Coach Hester and I agreed that the closer to our campus, the better.

Catawba officials were notified this week that construction at Shuford is well behind schedule. The latest target for completion is early December.

Of course, we are disappointed that the timetable is not going to work, Davidson said. It was an ambitious undertaking that had to come off perfectly to make the September completion date.

It's nobody's fault. Delays are inevitable in construction and the permit process took longer than expected.

Old Shuford was demolished last December following the Indians' run to the NCAA Division II national semifinals. New bleachers on both the home and visitors sides are being installed and a larger pressbox is well under construction. The $3-million project also includes new concession stands and restrooms.

Playing at Ludwig will allow the Indians to dress in their new Hayes Field House and then bus the short distance to Salisbury High.

Raymond Daugherty (Salisbury's AD) and Dr. (Windsor) Eagle (Salisbury's principal) have been and will be extremely nice to work with, said Davidson. We have a healthy relationship with Salisbury. Raymond, and before him Sam Gealy and Bobby Pharr, they knew they could count on us and vice versa.

Catawba and Salisbury High do have a long history of athletic cooperation.

Catawba's team used Salisbury's gym for basketball in the 1960s until Goodman Gymnasium was built.

Salisbury's baseball team played at Newman Park for many years until its new facility was completed this spring. Salisbury's swim team has used Catawba's Johnson Pool and Salisbury soccer has played occasionally at Catawba's Frock Field.

Salisbury's basketball teams appear annually in the Sam Moir Christmas Classic at Goodman Gym and the Hornets have played some big regular-season games there over the years.

We are pleased to be able to cooperate with Catawba, said Eagle. The relationship has been good over the years and this continues a tradition of facility usage between the two schools.

Catawba has just four home games this season, but three are against huge SAC rivals, so maintaining a true homefield edge away from Shuford is important. Presbyterian comes to town on Oct. 5; Wingate on Oct. 19; Carson-Newman on Nov. 9.

Catawba will also play a road game at crosstown rival Livingstone on Sept. 7.

The Indians have scheduled a trip to perennial power Indiana (Pa.) and make SAC road journeys to Mars Hill, Newberry, Tusculum and Lenoir-Rhyne.

The Catawba Chiefs Club has announced that all season-ticket holders will have access to a designated section on the home side of Ludwig Stadium, although there will be no reserved seats within the section.

Bill Pieczynski, director of the Chiefs, said that Pick Your Seat Week will occur as scheduled and encourages all Chiefs Club members to purchase their tickets for the new Shuford Stadium, set to open in September, 2003. Those tickets will be accepted at Ludwig this season.

Members who purchase their seats this year, will have the rights to those specific seats in subsequent years, Pieczynski said.

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