The Creans hope the gift will provide momentum to the fundraising efforts and serve as a catalyst for others to support the project.
"In years past we've tried to give back to the university, but this is our first gift to athletics," said Tom and Joani Crean. "Our athletics' programs have never been stronger and it's because they're led by quality people. Markus Roeders has proven over time that he is one of the finest coaches to ever represent Marquette University, and Louis Bennett is headed in the same direction with a promising future in men's soccer."
Crean said he will work to inform Marquette friends and supporters about the benefits of a first-class soccer facility, and will also encourage others to follow his family's lead.
The new stadium, to be constructed on the program's current home Valley Fields, will feature a top-quality natural-grass pitch, partially covered spectator seating, team locker and meeting rooms, concessions and restrooms. The cost of the new stadium, which will be funded through private gifts, will total approximately $5 million.
The Creans' $100,000 pledge is the Athletic Department's second in its campaign for a new soccer stadium. Earlier this month, KBS Construction, Inc. chairman Dennis Klein and his wife, Barbara, committed $1 million to officially launch the project.
"I am delighted but in no way surprised by Tom and Joani's generosity and support of the soccer stadium project. This commitment by their family is simply another instance of the ownership they have had in this university and athletics program since that day more than eight years ago when they first stepped foot on campus. We are very fortunate to have Tom as Marquette's men's basketball coach but even more fortunate to have the Crean family as part of the Marquette family," said Interim Athletic Director Steve Cottingham.
"We are ecstatic and grateful that Tom and Joani have chosen to support our fundraising efforts to build a soccer stadium. Since they arrived at Marquette, they have always shown tremendous support for the University, athletics and the community. The Creans have always raised the bar when it comes to making things better and Tom's success with the basketball program has had a positive affect on all of our athletic teams," said Head Women's Soccer Coach Markus Roeders.
Marquette University has made significant improvements to its soccer facilities in the last 12 months. Prior to last season, the university installed "Field Turf" at the practice facility adjacent to the playing field at Valley Fields. The new, state-of-the-art surface offers durability with the feel of real grass while eliminating the body burns associated with typical synthetic turf, but more importantly it allowed Marquette's soccer programs to practice on campus daily. Before this resource existed, the teams traveled up to 40 minutes one-way on a daily basis in order to practice.
"Knowing Tom just short time I have, but seeing his work ethic, drive, determination and dedication to Marquette's success both on and off the field I am honored that he would show the kind of support, vision and belief in the future of the soccer programs with such a gift. The donation is a powerful and generous statement that reflects the Creans' commitment to Marquette," said Head Men's Soccer Coach Louis Bennett.
At the time of the Klein's announcement, Cottingham said the practice facility and campaign for a new stadium are consistent with the University's mission of excellence and will position Marquette's soccer programs in an elevated status nationally. He said the goal is to complete the fundraising efforts by the end of the calendar year and begin construction after the final home soccer match this fall. The stadium is scheduled to open in September 2008.
Entering his ninth season as the school's head coach, Crean has positioned the program among elite in college basketball. In his tenure, Marquette has averaged over 20 wins a year, won a conference championship and made seven postseason appearances, including the 2003 Final Four, the program's third appearance all-time and first since 1977.
Since 2001, Crean has directed the Golden Eagles to 125 victories, fifth most among BIG EAST schools, and six consecutive postseason appearances. He is a two-time recipient of the Ray Meyer Conference USA, NABC District XI and USBWA District V Coach of the Year awards, and in 2003 won the Coach Clair Bee Award as well as being named a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award. His 65.4 winning percentage and 165 victories place him third in both categories all-time at MU.