The Eastern Michigan University athletics department announced on Thursday June 19 that it has plans to make a new gray FieldTurf Revolution surface for Rynearson Stadium.
The gray turf will be the first of its kind for any football stadium.
EMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Heather Lyke made the announcement with Eastern football coach Chris Creighton.
Lyke says that this stadium upgrade shows how much the school has invested in the football program and its commitment to provide opportunities for its student athletes.
“We are committed to the success of this football program,” Lyke said. “We will invest in the building blocks to demonstrate that we believe in our coaching staff and our student-athletes.”
Lyke says that she thinks the foundation of the football program, the leadership of the program and the quality of the student-athletes, is set and that now with the new turf they are building the program from the ground up.
“It (the gray turf) builds an identity that matches the toughness of this team,” Lyke said. “And it reveals our commitment to the quality of their experience.”
This announcement comes in conjunction with Rynearson’s new nickname; The Factory.
The Factory nickname connects back to southeastern Michigan and its roots as a place with a blue collar work ethic.
“What we just kept saying (during practices) was that we will play anyone,” Creighton said. “We’ll play anytime and we’ll play anywhere. We’ll play out in a parking lot.”
Creighton went on to say that the parking lot theme stuck and when they found out they were getting a new field they thought, “why not make it gray like a parking lot?”
“That’s our growing identity, that’s who these guys are. It’s who we are,” Creighton said. “We want to embrace that and celebrate it and at the same time continue to reinforce it and become it.”
“We’re like, ‘let’s make this the Factory at Rynearson Stadium’ – these guys come to work,” Creighton said. “They bring it when they come here and let’s build things, let’s build champions, let’s build impact men and let’s do it the right way.”
Creighton also says that the team is going to not just be tough, but E-tough. The team thought about what it means to be Eastern Michigan tough and they came up with five things that encompasses what E-tough is: Team first, Obsessed with getting better, Unwavering in adversity, Great effort, and Heart.
The stadiums new turf will be paid with funds from EMU’s Football Game Guarantee fund that is collected when Eastern goes and plays on other teams’ fields and they get paid compensation for travelling to their stadium.
The new turf will begin construction in July and will be ready for the season opener on Aug. 30 against Morgan State University.
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