Construction displaces varsity sports, intramurals and pick-up games

Construction of the new athletic facility has put space for varsity and intramural athletics at a premium, but so far the adjustment has been smooth.

“We have managed pretty well so far, and we plan to have all the same activities that we have had in the past,” Athletic Director Steve Fritz said.

The construction has taken away the Coughlan Field House and Shoenecker Arena, causing many varsity teams to move their practices to McCarthy Gymnasium on South Campus.

The fall sports have not had too many problems with scheduling because the volleyball team is the only varsity sport that needs McCarthy for practice.

With fall quickly approaching and winter sports soon to begin full practice schedules, McCarthy Gym will be busy with varsity athletics.

Scheduling for winter sports will be difficult initially because of the overlap between basketball and volleyball seasons, but it should straighten out quickly, Fritz said.

The Gangelhoff Center on the Concordia-St. Paul campus has become the home court for St. Thomas indoor athletics.

“There is a disadvantage in not being able to practice on your home court,” Fritz said. “But other than that, McCarthy works just fine.”

But varsity athletics aren’t the only programs affected by the construction.

Intramural basketball has been a long-standing tradition on campus. In years past, the league has been set up with five-on-five games with about 60 teams participating.

Junior Marguerite Maginot has been working to reorganize the league in order to adjust to scheduling restrictions.

“We have considered making it a four-on-four league and changing it to a Monday through Thursday league,” she said.

Maginot has discussed plans for the league with O’Shaughnessy Hall Coordinator David Lepp. Lepp was not available for an interview, but Maginot said they are still working out the schedule.

Faculty and staff are also feeling the effects of the construction as it has limited the locker room space for the lunch-time basketball pick-up games that happen three times a week.

Philosophy professor Stephen Laumakis has played in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday pick-up game for 20 years. Just because Shoenecker Arena and the field house aren’t around anymore doesn’t mean they aren’t continuing the tradition, he said.

“We are still playing. We are now playing up in what we like to call the ‘sweat box,’” Laumakis said.

That “sweat box” is the third floor gym in O’Shaughnessy Hall. The gym has not been as much of an issue as the locker rooms, Laumakis said.

“They moved us into what was the visitors’ locker room,” Laumakis said. “And it is a sty; and that’s being nice.

The same variety of activities as in years past should be available throughout the construction, but the new athletic facility, and its convenience, can’t get here soon enough, Fritz said.

Brian Matthews can be reached at