Niagara University broke ground on July 18 for renovations to John P. Bobo Field, the home of the Niagara University Purple Eagles baseball program. As part of the renovations, the entire field will feature a new artificial turf playing surface, along with new dugouts, fan seating and other enhancements.
“Breaking ground on renovations to a field that commemorates an American hero, United States Marine Corps Second Lieutenant John P. Bobo, ’65, and is home to the oldest athletics team at Niagara University is truly a special moment,” Director of Athletics Simon Gray said. “I want to thank alumni and friends of the program who have invested in the bright future for Purple Eagles baseball. We are all so excited to witness the transformation of this campus landmark.”
The field improvements will establish a great asset for Niagara University and the greater Western New York community. The renovations will improve the student-athlete and fan experience and the turf field will help the team overcome the challenges of the Western New York climate. In addition, the field will also be a community asset for youth baseball clinics, tournaments and other baseball functions.
Anastasi Trucking & Paving Co. from Lancaster, N.Y., will be the contractor for this state-of-the-art facility that will be a significant recruiting advantage for the program, making Bobo Field one of the premier on-campus facilities in the region. The project highlights include a full synthetic turf field, expanded seating areas, a new scoreboard and dugouts, a press box and a new backstop with netting. The renovations are scheduled to be completed during the fall semester, with the team taking the brand new field in time for the 2018 season.
The reconstructed baseball field will add to the blend of facilities on campus at Niagara University and increase the value of a Niagara education. Academic facilities like the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences, along with the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre, the Castellani Art Museum, the new Dining Commons, the Gallagher Center and the Dwyer Arena, enhance the living-learning experience for students through academics, athletics, arts and recreation.
Despite the challenges the existing field presented, NU’s Purple Eagles continue to garner the attention of Major League Baseball. This year, two outstanding Purple Eagles were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft: pitcher Daniel Procopio, a 5-11 righty from Toronto, Ontario, was selected by the Los Angeles Angels in the 10th round; and outfielder Tanner Kirwer, a junior from Sherwood Park, Alberta, was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 20th round. They are the seventh and eighth NU player to be drafted since 2005: James Avery, Dan Griffin, Reed Eastley (2005), Jeff Vincent (2006), Wynton Bernard (2012), and Jordan Schwartz (2014).