Stony Brook Athletics is “proactively” looking into renovating the baseball-softball complex around Joe Nathan Field and University Field, Shawn Heilbron, the university’s director of athletics, said. The hope is that an official announcement will be made by the end of the year.
“We are in conversation with the campus and certain donors about what we want to do,” Heilbron said. “I think in the short term we need lights, we need seats and we need restroom facilities. Ultimately we want to host an [NCAA] regionals here.”
However, he is not suggesting a new 10,000-seat stadium be erected. But Heilbron does think it is necessary to have 1,500 to 2,000 seats surrounding Joe Nathan Field. The current facility has bleachers that accommodate 1,000 people, according to Stony Brook Athletics. They cannot host night games, because they do not have lights, and the current bathroom facility at the field is a row of porta potties.
He made his intentions clear that the baseball-softball complex is the next most pressing need on his agenda, now that construction for a new indoor practice facility that will allow all Stony Brook intercollegiate athletic teams to practice all year long is under way.
Heilbron wants to ensure that Stony Brook Baseball, which has won five America East Championships, has a new facility to coincide with the program’s growth.
“We have one of the greatest coaches in the country in Matt Senk, who is able to recruit well, but ultimately our ability to win is going to be dictated by the strength of the facilities that we surround our athletes with,” Heilbron said.
Senk has coached the Seawolves since 1991, orchestrating the swift growth of the program. He has developed a program that is a consistent player in the America East and has sent four players to the MLB. Stony Brook is attracting higher-end recruits such as Michael Wilson, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the MLB draft last season.
“Facilities is hugely important but especially at the Division I level. Something like that will help us immensely in recruiting,” Senk said. “It will help us immensely in taking care of fans and I think more of the community would want to come out. I look forward to that happening sooner rather than later.”