President Clark presents Coach Drass with gift before football game

President Clark presents Coach Drass with gift before football game

Brittany Wilson, The Whetstone

Wesley College witnessed more than the football team’s opening home game win against Christopher Newport on Sept. 19.

During a pre-game ceremony, Wesley’s new field was unveiled and dedicated to Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Mike Drass. Dover’s mayor declared Sept. 19 “Mike Drass Day.”

That afternoon, the 44-24 victory over CNU was Drass’ 200th career win—making him one of 15 active coaches from any division to achieve such a record.

Drass, who is in his twenty-third season as Wesley’s head football coach, said he never expected to receive such an honor.

“I was surprised,” he said. “I still really don’t know how it came about.”

During Drass’ years as head coach, the football team received four Lambert-Meadowland Trophies, was named ECAC Team of the Year six times, and played the NCAA tournament 11 times. The team is currently ranked fifth in the nation for Division III college football.

At the post-game reception, Drass credited his success to family, friends, players and fellow coaches—specifically Coach Knapp, who has coached alongside Drass for the extent of his tenure and all 200 wins.

Drass Field

Drass Field

Football captain, Craig Pettit, said Wesley’s football team is lucky to have Drass as its coach.

“We are fortunate to have amazing coaches that help us become better athletes and better men,” he said. “Coach always talks about us being student-athletes. Education is why we are in college, football is a privilege.”

Football players are not the only athletes who benefit from Wesley’s new field. Men’s soccer, women’s soccer and the women’s field hockey teams also share the turf.

Wesley senior and field hockey captain Morgan Seymour said the new turf was well worth the wait.

“The new turf is great,” she said. “We definitely needed it because of the amount of wear and tear it gets from all the athletic teams that use it daily, both in and out of season.”

Drass said the college and surrounding community made good use of the old turf, but it was definitely time to invest in something new.

“I think anyone who saw or played on the field over the last 2-3 years could see that it was deteriorating,” he said. “It was a great field in 2004 and we certainly got our mileage out of it for the past 11 years.”

Wesley invested in the FieldTurf Revolution system— a “premier synthetic turf system,” advertised as having the highest player safety and performance ratings.

Seymour said the turf is an ideal surface for field hockey because it allows the ball to move faster and smoother.

“It looks great too, and it gives the athletes that use the turf something to be proud of,” she said.

Wesley’s cross country and track and field coach, Stephen Kimes, said the new turf will definitely change the game for athletes.

“A soccer ball will roll slower on new turf versus old worn down turf, and in field hockey the ball will roll faster,” he said. “The football guys might not be running quite as fast as they would on the shorter surface.”

Natalie Trujillo, junior nursing major and soccer player, said the new turf was necessary for the sake of athletes’ health.

“Now players do not have to worry about getting serious bacterial skin infections,” she said. “Infections occurred often with the old turf since it was inhabited with MRSA (staph infection). It is not abnormal for turf fields, especially old turf, but it should have been changed years ago.”

Drass also said the field is safer.

“The field now is the best thing from a safety standpoint for our student-athletes to play on and certainly more pleasing to the eye for our fans to see and enjoy,” he said. “We wanted to have the best field we could possibly have, and we got it.”

Kimes said the field looks great.

“It’s beautiful turf and it’s a beautiful field,” he said. “I know the athletes are excited about it.”