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The lights are on at Cochrane Field (10-23-11) PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Sunday, 23 October 2011 02:40
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An official keeps an eye on the game during woman's game Friday night under new lights at Cochrane Field. (Photo: JD Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
The first night games in Bowling Green Falcon soccer history were played over the weekend at Cochrane Field.
While the Falcon women lost to Western Michigan Friday and the men played to an overtime tie with Hartwick Saturday, the lighting project should pay major dividends for both programs in the future. Bowling Green is the last Division I men’s soccer program in Ohio to have lights.
Eric Nichols, who is in third season as the men’s soccer coach, was an advocate for lights during the interview process for the position at Bowling Green.
“I saw this in my mind ... this is part of what I was selling to them,” Nichols said. “It’s everything I imagined.”
The men’s team walked from their locker room on the east side of Perry Stadium to Cochrane Field with the lights on Saturday, about an hour before the match.
“I prepared myself for that. I kind of envisioned what it would be like the first time we walked up to a lit field, but I still wasn’t prepared. It blew me away,” Nichols said.
“I think it’s going to be a game-changer,” Nichols continued. “Being able to play in an environment like this, it’s really motivating for our players and for future players.”
The men’s soccer alumni raised the majority of the money for the project and approximately 40 alumni were present Saturday.
Gary Kovacs (1967-69) and Nan Chul Shin (1983-86) provided major leadership gifts for the project. Other alumni, both men and women, donated to the project.
“The fact that our alums could come through so quickly with the support of our two coaches to set the whole thing in motion was outstanding,” said Mickey Cochrane, the first coach for BG’s men’s soccer team and the man the field is named after.
Cochrane was recognized at halftime of the Hartwick game.
"It is beautiful and the brightness of the lights you are not prepared for, it’s just amazing,” Cochrane added.
Kovacs, a former standout goalie for the Falcons, was also recognized Saturday.
“The gift was an essential thing when I came here two years ago,” Kovacs said. “We had a new coach (Nichols) who had come in, who was a great coach, but he wasn’t going to be able to market or recruit when all other schools have lights.
“I got together with a bunch of guys and said we needed to make this happen,” Kovacs continued. “When I committed Nan Chul Shin committed and the other guys started to fall in ... I’m very excited I got to do it.
“It’s a great program and soccer is back,” he added.
There are four 50-foot poles which hold lights that meet the NCAA minimum of 50 foot candles (a measure of the brightness of the lights) for television,
“It certainly is going to help our teams,” said Greg Christopher, BG’s athletics director, said.
“The first step was hiring Eric,” Christopher continued. “He has done a nice job, not just with the program, but organizing and galvanizing the soccer alums. Once we got in front of them (the alumni) and talked through the vision ... They bought into it.”
In addition to the lights, a student section, which seats between 150 and 200, has been added to the north end of the field, right behind the goal. And through a donation to the women’s soccer team, wind screens, covered benches and World Cup-style goals were added. Additionally, the athletics department upgraded the scoreboard.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2011 08:49
 

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