‘The Time is Now,’ a stadium for DeSales

The DeSales High School Colts inaugurated the Paul B. Cox Stadium in a game against the Fairdale High School Bulldogs Aug. 19. This was the first home game played at the Kenwood Drive campus in the school’s 60-year history. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)
The DeSales High School Colts inaugurated the Paul B. Cox Stadium in a game against the Fairdale High School Bulldogs Aug. 19. This was the first home game played at the Kenwood Drive campus in the school’s 60-year history. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Every one of the 2,850 seats in the newly built Paul B. Cox Stadium was filled as the DeSales High School Colts made history on the night of Aug. 19. The school played its first home football game on the Kenwood Drive campus — a game they won against Fairdale High School 30-0.

The Paul B. Cox Stadium is an open-air multi-sport complex featuring a football field, soccer field, baseball field and batting cage. The facilities also include separate scoreboards and press boxes for each sport and state-of-the-art lighting, sound and
security equipment. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz dedicated the stadium shortly before the game’s kick-off.

The dedication of the stadium and the football game wrapped up “The Time is Now” strategic initiative, launched in February of 2014. The campaign brought many changes to the all-boys school located at 425 W. Kenwood Drive.

During the dedication ceremony, Archbishop Kurtz reminded the packed stadium that “all good gifts come from God.”

The archbishop prayed that God would “bless in a special way” those who will use the field. “Keep them safe and bring out the best in them,” he prayed.

The archbishop also said he hoped the new stadium will be the site of many wins, soliciting cheers from the stands.

Doug Strothman, president of DeSales, said during an interview last week, that the “excitement” surrounding the new stadium was “incredible.” Strothman said he noticed that people were driving by and stopping to look at the new stadium.

“Some didn’t think it was going to get done, because it hadn’t in the past,” he said.

Paul B. Cox, the DeSales graduate for whom the stadium was named, his wife and mother listened during a dedication ceremony Aug. 19. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in the background, blessed the stadium shortly after. (Record photo by Ruby Thomas)
Paul B. Cox, the DeSales graduate for whom the stadium is named, his wife and mother listened during a dedication ceremony Aug. 19. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, in the background, blessed the stadium shortly after. (Record photo by Ruby Thomas)

The $6.1 million initiative helped to accomplish much more than a state-of-the-art sports complex.

Strothman said the initiative has allowed the South End school to make more tuition aid available to families. This school year, more than $650,000 was invested in tuition aid.

“We made a significant commitment to remaining as affordable to families as we can,” he said.

Strothman said he’s also seen an increased interest in the school because of the buzz around the strategic initiative. The enrollment this school year is 340 students, up from 320 last year.

Other improvements brought to the campus by “The time is Now” are:

  • Renovated biology lab.
  • Renovated chapel.
  • A grass practice field on campus.
  • A new HVAC system.
  • A new baseball locker room.
  • A new drainage system that will carry water off the stadium fields.
  • Construction of a side parking lot that connects the front and back of the school.
  • Installation of a new phone system and phones in every classroom.

With the new renovations, Strothman said, that every space on campus has been improved.

He noted that while DeSales’ culture and academic programs are “excellent,” the updates on campus stemmed from a desire “to bring our facilities in line with the other schools.” “The students deserve it,” he said.

Everything that has been accomplished on the school’s campus recently, said Strothman, is “a tribute and a continuation of the legacy” left by the Carmelite Brothers who founded the school in 1956 and served as educators for many years after.

“We got here on their shoulders,” he said, also noting the contributions of other past lay educators and administrators.

The new stadium also was referred to as a “home” during its dedication Friday night.

Jess Metzmeier, chair of DeSales’ board, spoke during the stadium dedication, telling those present that it wasn’t built to win games.

“We built it as a home for the DeSales community,” said Metzmeier. It’s a community, he noted, that has the potential to change the lives of the young men who attend the school.

“That’s what we’re celebrating tonight,” he said to the cheering fans. “We’re here to help them be the best version of themselves — to roar with cheer when they succeed and to pick them up when they fall.”

Don Bowers, a 1981 DeSales graduate who now serves as the school’s athletic director, said it’s an “exciting time to be a part of DeSales.” The culmination of this project is a “phenomenal feeling,” he said, noting that the alumni are “excited” as well.

Bowers said the new stadium will be used for much more than varsity football games. The stadium will also be used by the baseball and soccer teams and later on for lacrosse.

It will also be used by students in physical education classes.

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