Grove City College will officially mark the beginning of a new era in Wolverine athletics at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 with the dedication of Don Lyle Soccer Field during Homecoming 2019.
The former College Field, which has been home to the College’s soccer program since 1953, was essentially rebuilt over the summer. It now features a synthetic FieldTurf surface designed for men’s and women’s soccer, new lighting, a new scoreboard, improved sound system, drainage, a new walkway to Madison Avenue and branded signage around the field that reinforces the College’s identity.
The field is being renamed to honor the contributions that Dr. Don Lyle, a longtime athletic director, coach and mentor to generations of student-athletes, made to men’s and women’s soccer, College sports programs and the institution during his 43 years of service.
“We are really excited to have the field so that we have a consistent training and playing environment – it will be a place we can truly call home,” women’s coach Melissa Lamie said. “Our home field advantage will now center on the fact that we train and play there every day. We are excited for the campus community to embrace that environment and make it their home too.”
“Along with everything being done to the field physically it is also amazing that the College gets to honor Coach Lyle by naming the field after him. Coach had – and still is having – a huge impact on me and many others and this is a honor he truly deserves,” men’s coach Mike Dreves ’97 said.
The new field is part of a greater vision to enhance the campus experience by providing the College’s outstanding student-athletes a facility that matches the excellence and effort they put into their competitive pursuits. The work is being supported by gifts to the College earmarked for the soccer field. More than 120 donors have already contributed to the effort and fundraising continues.
The FieldTurf surface provides a safer and more durable playing surface that can hold up to weather conditions into November for post-season play. The field is also expected to play host to high school postseason matches and summer soccer camps and provide an alternative practice and competition venue for lacrosse, the College’s newest NCAA Div. III varsity sport.
The new and improved playing surface and lighting, which will make night games and evening practices possible, complements previous improvements to the athletic field, including stands that can accommodate up to 1,000 fans and a heated press box, which is being named for Cliff Wettig, who coached the men’s soccer team from 1962 to 1971.
To support Don Lyle Soccer Field, make a gift online at www.giving.gcc.turf2019 or contact Brian Powell ’03, senior director of Development at 724-458-2992 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Dr. Don Lyle
In 43 distinguished years as a coach, educator and administrator, Lyle influenced countless students, student-athletes and colleagues throughout his career at Grove City College. He joined the College’s athletic department in 1972 as head men’s soccer coach and assistant men’s basketball coach. He guided Grove City’s men’s soccer team from 1972 to 2005 and finished his coaching career as the program’s all-time leader in wins with 277. As head coach, he led the Wolverines to six postseason berths, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Championship Tournament. Lyle also directed Grove City to its first Presidents’ Athletic Conference men’s soccer title in 1996 as Grove City went 16-2. The Wolverines set a school record for victories in a season and won their first ECAC title. In 2005, his final season as head coach, Lyle guided Grove City to its first-ever PAC Tournament title. He earned the conference’s Coach of the Year award.
The College promoted Lyle to chairman of the department of physical education in 1996. The College appointed him as athletic director in 2003. He held both positions until his retirement in 2015. Lyle received the Florence McKenzie Campus-Community Award for his community work in the Grove City area in 1988. In 2016, the NCAA honored Lyle with the Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award. A native of Calcutta, Ohio, Lyle earned a B.A. from Muskingum College in 1971 and added his master’s degree in education from Miami of Ohio in 1972. Lyle received his doctorate from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1989.
About Cliff Wettig
A coach for all seasons, Wettig headed the men’s soccer, basketball and tennis teams at Grove City from 1962-1971. All three programs produced their winningest seasons to that point under his direction. He accumulated a combined coaching record of 251-123-4 in 27 total seasons at Grove City. Wettig guided the men’s soccer team to a 65-20-4 overall mark, including back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1964 and 1965. The College inducted Wettig into its Men’s Soccer Hall of Fame as part of its first class of honorees in 2001.
Wettig-coached teams also excelled on the hardwood as the basketball program posted a 57-32 mark over his final four seasons. The 1968-69 squad finished 19-5, establishing a new school record for victories. His basketball teams recorded an overall record of 112-86. As tennis coach, Wettig quickly turned around a varsity program that had not posted a winning record in eight straight seasons. In his nine years, the Wolverine netters posted a 74-17 win-loss mark, including undefeated campaigns in 1964 and 1965. He continued his coaching career at Slippery Rock State College, University of Tennessee and Samford University. He passed away in 1981 at age 53.