Video: Archbishop Shaw football stadium to become a reality
Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a great virtue. Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.
To say that determined parties who love Archbishop Shaw stayed the course would be an understatement.
An effort which started over 12 years ago is coming to fruition with an on campus football stadium at the Marrero campus.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday morning, with the student body on hand, as well as school Director and Salesian priest Fr. Lou Molinelli officially welcome everyone, prayed over the new development and hailed it as a testament of the commitment of Shaw to its students and the community at large.
The stadium, scheduled to open for the 2019 season, will seat 4,000, including 2,500 on the home side. The turf will be a hybrid, a combination of natural grass and field turf.
Tommy Connors was a standout player for the Eagles and an assistant coach before becoming head coach prior to the start of the 2017 season.
“I can tell you that the whole community is happy,” Connors said. “Shaw’s taken a lot of pride in pushing a lot forward and to say, ‘listen, we’re the Catholic school on the west bank, we’re doing things the right way, scores are going up, athletics are getting invested into. It’s really a huge step. No other school in the Catholic League has its own stadium yet.”
While Shaw will be able to play all of its home football games on campus on Friday nights, Shaw soccer, outside organizations who play rugby and others will utilize the facility.
Shaw becomes the first Catholic League school to have its own football stadium. Archbishop Rummel, Brother Martin, John Curtis, Holy Cross, Jesuit and St. Augustine have to wait in line and battle to secure dates, often not on Friday nights, at Tad Gormley Stadium, Joe Yenni Stadium, Hoss Memtsas Stadium, Yulman Stadium and The Shrine on Airline.
Unlike many of its contemporaries in the Catholic League, Shaw has significant green, open space on its campus, along with existing parking to accommodate a football stadium.
Principal Mark Williams, who played and coached for the Eagles, was all smiles.
Eagle athletic facility board member Tim Falcon has sent three sons to Archbishop Shaw.
“There is tremendous excitement, a lot of joy, we will be glad to bring this community a playing field it needs,” Falcon said. “It is one they have been searching for now for a long time. It’s a chance for the kids to play on Friday night, not during the Alabama-LSU game on Saturday, not Thursday night. It’s the proper time to play in an environment that is family friendly.”
Most of the monies needed to complete the facility are in place.
“The first phase, we’re about 90 percent done,” Falcon said. “The second phase which will be the concession stands and restrooms, we’re working on that.”
With enrollment back on the uptick this past year and things looking up, Shaw is recovering from a downturn which has lasted over a decade.
“I think it will bring a lot of alumni back,” Connors said. “We’re raising more money than we ever have. We are outreaching into the community more than we ever have. That, alone, has gotten a lot of the alumni back and alumni is the reason this is happening.”
If the stadium arrives on time, the first game would be week two of the 2019 season against Vandebilt Catholic.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…