Sept. 21, 2006
IOWA CITY, IA –
Pride. Admiration. Honor. These are the words Field Hockey Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum used to describe the feelings she gets when she coaches her team on the new Grant Field. For Griesbaum and her team, those feelings are sure to grow stronger on Sunday.
Prior to the 1 p.m. competition between the Iowa Hawkeyes and sixth-ranked Ohio State, the Hawkeyes will honor Dr. Christine H. B. Grant and rededicate their field in her honor.
“I feel very honored,” said Dr. Grant.
For the field hockey team, the chance to play on the field named after someone who did so much to further women’s athletics is something not taken for granted.
“It’s just a sense of pride. Everything she has done for women and sports across the country. To have the field named after her, to look up at the scoreboard and see her name every day, we feel very honored and proud. We do what we can to make her proud,” Griesbaum said.
Dr. Grant has a long history of being involved in women’s sports and, specifically, field hockey. She played netball and field hockey from the time she was 11. She competed in field hockey through her university experience.
After completing her diploma in physical education from Dunfermline College in Scotland, Dr. Grant became a teacher at various schools in Scotland and later in Canada. She also was a coach of field hockey, netball, basketball and track.
While she was coaching, Dr. Grant became interested in the administration of sports and decided to pursue her graduate degree. She received her B.A. and Ph. D. from the University of Iowa. After receiving her Ph. D., she decided to apply for a new position opening at Iowa. With the creation of Title IX in 1972, there was a position established for a women’s athletic director. Dr. Grant became Iowa’s first, and only, women’s athletic director.
During her years as Women’s AD, Dr. Grant did everything in her power to make Iowa a national powerhouse in women’s sports. She also pushed for equality in women’s sport and fair use of Title IX.
In 1991, Dr. Grant was honored for all the work she had put into women’s athletics. The field hockey field, which was located near the Duane Banks Baseball Field and the Kenyon Football Practice Facility, was named in Grant’s honor.
“It was a real surprise. I didn’t know the associate athletic director had started this whole process. They didn’t tell me until it had been approved, so I was quite surprised,” said Dr. Grant.
Iowa had a 108-24 record while playing on the original Grant Field and was 11-2 in NCAA games. On Oct. 24, 1993, Iowa set a home attendance record as 1,339 fans watched the Hawkeyes defeat fourth ranked Penn State, 4-0.
Last season the Hawkeyes moved to their new field as part of the west campus project. The project, which was completed prior to the start of the 2006-2007 school year, includes an outdoor soccer practice field, a tennis and recreation building, and a competitive indoor and outdoor field hockey complex.
When plans were made to move to the new field, there was never a doubt the field would continue to be known as Grant Field. It was simply a matter of upgrading the facilities, said Jane Meyer, Senior Associate Director of Athletics.
The new Grant Field is now among the best in the nation. Upgrades include an improved playing field, locker rooms, concession stands, lights, restrooms, a press box and a permanent grandstand. While Dr. Grant believes the field and atmosphere is gorgeous, she isn’t alone in that opinion.
“Aesthetically it’s beautiful out there with the prairie grass, soccer fields and Hall of Fame,” said Griesbaum.
Even though it was sad leaving their former home, because it had brought the team so much success over the years, Griesbaum couldn’t be happier in her new home.
“We were really proud to be able to play on old Grant Field, but this facility. Everything about it is better. It means a lot to our program. It’s really neat because it shows the dedication to our program. It’s very impressive,” said Griesbaum.
A presentation honoring Dr. Grant and officially rededicating the field is scheduled to begin prior to the start of Sunday’s 1 p.m. game. There will also be more announcements made at half time. A reception will be held after the game.