Facility upgrades in 2017 continue UST momentum

Photo by Haley Staffon
Photo by Haley Staffon

The University of St. Thomas' latest athletics facilities upgrades occurred in summer 2017 and made dramatic improvements for the varsity sports of track and field, baseball and football, as well as club sports, intramurals and student/staff/faculty use.

St. Thomas invested in several major projects on its north campus:

  • resurfaced its eight-lane outdoor track with an attractive splash of purple and grey;
  • installed new field turf on Palmer Field in O'Shaughnessy Stadium;
  • installed new infield turf for baseball at Koch Diamond;
  • moved and expanded its baseball hitting cages and dugouts;
  • and moved its shot-put venue to a site up near the baseball field, behind the stadium video board.

 

 

These 2017 improvements continue a wave of facility upgrades that have helped elevate St. Thomas athletics into the top tier of their Division III peers.

In the last seven years alone, St. Thomas opened the $52 million Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex with state-of-the-art facilities for swimming and diving; basketball and volleyball; track and field; tennis; baseball; softball; golf; sports medicine; weight training and recreation; club sports and fitness classes; as well as expanded offices, locker rooms and meeting rooms.

All of the indoor and outdoor spaces also boast state-of-the-art Daktronics video display boards with an ability to show races, replays and results on 500-inch screens.

Tommie soccer and softball teams had new field turf installed in 2013 on their home venue (South Field) on the south campus. Locker room and sports medicine space was added nearby in a renovated McCarthy Gym.

Tommie hockey is starting its 15th season at Saint Thomas Ice Arena in Mendota Heights. Both the UST men's and women's locker rooms there underwent major upgrades in 2015.

 

St. Thomas Baseball

Since joining the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in 1920, the Tommies have won a league-best 34 regular-season championships. Since 1996 alone, St. Thomas has won 28 of a possible 40 conference regular-season and playoff titles. 

The Toms have also captured 10 of the 18 MIAC tournament titles contested since the format began in 2000.

St. Thomas has reached the NCAA Regional playoffs 24 times, including 20 trips in the last 23 seasons. The Tommies have won six regional crowns and advanced to six NCAA College World Series.

In the last 17 seasons alone, the Tommies have six top-three NCAA finishes. St. Thomas claimed the national title in 2001 and 2009; took second in 1999 and 2000; and placed third in 2012 and 2014.

St. Thomas has one of the best records in all of college baseball over the last 23 seasons, winning over 75 percent of its games (777-259-1) over that span, an average of 24 wins a season.

In 2013, the Tommies won the 20-game conference race by eight games, finishing at 19-1 (11-9 runner up finish). That's the largest margin of victory in any sport in conference -- and possibly Division III -- history.

Since 1994, the Tommies have the second most NCAA playoff berths among all 360 Division III programs.

Chris Olean will enter his ninth year as the head coach of St. Thomas baseball in 2017. He's established himself among the top coaches in Division III with a 226-74-1 record (.714) and seven MIAC championships in his first eight seasons. Olean has coached five D-III All-America pitchers in his eight-year era as head coach. He was voted conference and Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 2012.