Busy sports off-season slowly starts to wind down

Jeff Novack
Margaret Bauer

The start of the installation of a new field on historic Francis Field capped what has been eventful off-season for Washington University sports.

The installation of FieldTurf, an artificial surface, began in June. The artificial turf replaces the natural grass that had served the field since its beginnings in 1904. Once the field’s installation is completed, the Bears will be the fourth team in the University Athletic Association (UAA) to play on an artificial surface, along with the University of Rochester, New York University and Carnegie Mellon University. The FieldTurf playing surface is widely used, boasting over 800 installations in 20 different countries.

June was a busy month in and around Francis Field. In addition to the start of construction, Francis Field was the site for part of the Olympic torch-carrying ceremony (see story, page A11). E. Desmond Lee, a graduate of the class of 1940, carried the 2004 Athens Olympic Torch through the field on June 17. Lee is a former basketball and track and field student-athlete at the University who was honored with induction into the Washington University Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.

Meanwhile, on the basketball court, the Bears women’s basketball team added Bobbi Morse as an assistant coach for the team. Morse’s responsibilities as assistant coach will mainly be in recruiting and in coaching the team in post play. Morse played collegiate basketball at Eastern Michigan University while earning a bachelor’s degree in business education. After graduating, Morse began coaching at Kaskaskia (Ill.) Junior College.

Morse is no stranger to St. Louis basketball, having served as the head coach at University of Missouri-St. Louis and an assistant at St. Louis University. Morse also has professional coaching experience, having served as assistant coach of the American Basketball League’s San Jose Lasers. There, she helped the team earn a post-season birth and worked with players that include two-time Olympian Jennifer Azzi.

Proving once again that the success of Bears teams is not limited to their competitive play, the men’s swimming and diving team completed the 2003-2004 academic year with the highest team grade point average (GPA) among men’s programs in the NCAA.

The team GPA of 3.52 placed them ahead of Washington and Lee University’s 3.496, University of Denver’s 3.479, Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology’s 3.472, and Emory University’s 3.44.

It was a banner year for the team in the pool as well, as it finished tenth in the NCAA Division III Championships, which tied a previous school best for the team.

In football, Brad Duesing was named to the 2004 Football Gazette Pre-Season All-American Football Team. Duesing, a wide-receiver, made the third team. The Bear’s football team will kick off its home season on its newly renovated field on Saturday, September 4 at 1:00 p.m. against Mount Union College.

Leave a Reply