MURRAY — The Murray State Athletics Facility Master Plan creates a pathway to accomplish the largest advancement of athletics facilities in the history of Murray State University
The future for Cutchin Field is the focus this week as the Murray State Athletics Facility Master Plan looks at the home of Murray State Soccer. It’s a vision for all the MSU home venues that increases player development, recruiting and student-athlete experience.
Opening in 2000, Cutchin Field sits on the same ground as it did when it was Cutchin Stadium from 1948-73 as the home of Racer Football. The land sat idle until the Racer Soccer program was launched at the start of the 21st century.
The plan means Cutchin Field gets artificial turf, video board, lights, press box and bleachers.
“There is so much this plan has in store for our home field and it’s incredibly exciting,” said MSU Head Coach Matt Lodge. “The turf alone will give us more time to practice and the savings from not having to mow and taking care of the natural grass helps our budget. Lights extend our practice time, especially when the days get short in the second half of our season, and having a place for our fans to sit is going to give us a stadium feel. The ability to play night games will increase our crowd sizes and the opponents we can get to come and visit.”
Another part of the plan for MSU Soccer is related to the tennis program. The teams currently share the Crisp Center which houses locker rooms for each. When a new tennis facility is built at the Waldrop Drive location, MSU Soccer would double its building space, enhancing player development in the form of additional meeting space, video/film review, training room amenities, etc.. Another part of the Facility Master Plan is building an MSU Athletics Performance Center. The new center includes a weight room and athletic training space and offices.
“We could use the extra space to make things a little more comfortable for the players and to have the ability to meet as a team right there at Cutchin Field.” Coach Lodge added. “The extra space gives us more options for our locker room and that is exciting. Of course, all of this would positively impact our recruiting efforts.”
From a student-athlete perspective, the experience at Murray State University is outstanding. The Racer players are excited for the future of the program.
“My experience playing soccer for Murray State first and foremost has given me lifelong friends and a Racer family,” said Simone Cooper, a senior from Loganville, Georgia. “Basically, the things we’re talking about here are a real game changer for Murray State Soccer. The fan interest in the program is at an all-time high. One of the reasons is we’ve won two OVC titles and been to the NCAA Tournament, but the other is that our field is right in the middle of campus. When we get lights, our attendance is going to take off.”
The plan for Cutchin Field is one that Racer Soccer alumni are very interested in as well. That includes Julie Mooney, who was a two-time All-OVC pick for the Racers during her career from 2011-14. Mooney, the fourth leading scorer in MSU history, believes the improvements sets the program up for success.
“If I were a recruit, I’d be excited to come to Murray State and play at a facility like that,” Mooney said. “Everyone wants the best they can have and it’s a good thing we are thinking about the future of Murray State Soccer and what a great facility would mean for it.”