Coastal’s plans for new soccer complex on hold
Shaun Docking is in his 22nd season as Coastal Carolina University’s men’s soccer coach and has amassed a 276-125-35 record.
His CCU teams have participated in the NCAA Tournament 13 times, have reached the third round (quarterfinals) on four occasions, including three since 2012, and have been ranked as high as fourth in the nation in 2015.
Yet the team has played on a no-frills field throughout his tenure, with only a shed for game operations, a basic scoreboard, lights, and a capacity of 1,055 spectators incorporating a pair of bleachers.
“I honestly believe with the right facilities to attract even better athletes, or even more athletes, that Coastal Carolina can win a second national championship. And I think it can be in soccer, I really do believe we’re that good,” CCU Trustee Oran Smith said. “We just need to have the facilities.”
The university is trying to rectify the situation, but it has been dealt a significant setback in its plans to build a $5 million soccer facility for use by the men’s and women’s teams.
Nearly $3.5 million was coming from the Student Housing Foundation, Senior Vice President of Finance David Frost told the Board of Trustees. Then $1.5 million was going to be provided by private donors.
The largest donor has backed out of the proposal, putting the project as designed in jeopardy, according to CCU director of athletics Matt Hogue.
“It’s a need we need to address,” Hogue said. “We’ve got to get into a better situation for them in terms of a facility, and we’ve known that for some time.”
The building of the soccer facility, which would be located on school property on the north side of U.S. Highway 501 across from the primary campus, is now on hold. University officials are assessing whether to await additional funding to complete the project or move forward with a downsized complex.
“Unfortunately we did have a situation with a donor where that pledge did not work out,” Hogue said. “So what we’ve got to do now is we’ve got to take a look and retool how we put this together. Do we look at another type of facility? Do we go back and start from scratch? That’s kind of where we are right now is just figuring out what that next move is.”
The natural grass playing surface for the new facility already exists next to tennis courts and is used by the soccer teams for practices.
The facility concept included field lighting, seating for up to 1,000 spectators, a modern scoreboard and a building that could house locker rooms, game-day operations, restrooms, concessions and possibly coaches’ offices.
CCU’s soccer teams now have to cross University Boulevard to use locker rooms and restrooms at Brooks Stadium — the football stadium — during games.
Hogue believes the complex could be completed within a couple of years once a contractor is selected.
But because Coastal is a public university the project must be approved by the state, which it is in its current form. But an alteration of the proposal will likely require another approval.
“To be able to ultimately do things the way we want to do them, it’s going to require some additional funds,” Hogue said. “We certainly are trying to raise money and develop interest on that front to get us back to where we are. Or we may have to consider a project that has some downsizing to the scope. But I think the overriding goal is eventually we have to address our current situation. On a game day it’s not ideal.”
Smith said he thinks the rest of the Board of Trustees wants to give it some time and make sure the new soccer facility is to par with the caliber of the team. The board tabled the discussion until its October meeting.
“I think the consensus is we want to do our soccer facility right and that is probably going to require us to wait awhile still,” Smith said.