As the finishing touches were being made to Methodist University’s new soccer stadium last season, the players could only imagine the seats full of students, families, and community cheering them on to victory. COVID-19 disrupted that opportunity.
Those visions, however, became a tremendous reality Wednesday night.
In addition to an exciting 1-0 victory against Ferrum, MU hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil to the public what is already being called one of the top NCAA Division III soccer facilities in the region: The Nancy and Murray Duggins Soccer Stadium.
“Wednesday was certainly an excellent day for both MU Soccer and the Fayetteville community,” said MU Men’s Soccer Coach Justin Terranova.
In addition to their contributions to the soccer stadium, the Duggins have a long history of supporting MU and the entire Cumberland County community. Working in real estate in the Carolinas for 50 years, the Duggins’ family of companies include affordable housing and daycare projects, commercial construction, land development and more.
“Methodist University is very special to me, as I look back and realize all of the opportunities I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for Methodist,” said Murray Duggins, a 1966 MU graduate. “My wife and I are from Fayetteville, we want to continue to give to this community and this University that has such a special place in our hearts… Methodist University gave me opportunities, and I want to help students today realize theirs.”
Features of the stadium include 200 permanent seats, a concession stand, ticket office for tournament matches, fencing around the entire perimeter, and restrooms. This adds to the new stadium lights and a two-story field house that were installed in 2017.
“We are so very grateful for the long history of generosity that Nancy and Murray Duggins have shown not just to Methodist University, but to the entire Cumberland County community,” said Dr. Stanley T. Wearden, president of Methodist University. “This is a top-of-the-line stadium that is representative of the excellence of our soccer programs. I know our coaches and players also are grateful to the Dugginses. Given all Nancy and Murray Duggins have done in support of others for many years, it was wonderful to celebrate with them and to thank them at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at midfield just prior to the men’s match against Ferrum. The entire women’s soccer team was on hand to share their appreciation, the MU Chorale sang the national anthem, and more than 200 fans from on campus and the community celebrated the new stadium and the victory.
“Our community now has a chance to see high level soccer, both men’s and women’s, and the best part is those families can come to all of the university regular-season games for free,” said Terranova. “We plan to showcase the stadium locally by hosting high school championship games and youth tournaments… both Methodist University student-athletes and our local rising soccer stars will play in this world-class facility.”
The opening of Duggins Stadium is another milestone in the long and successful history of the MU soccer programs. It’s also an addition to the growing number of updates made to MU athletic facilities in the past couple of years. The university recently installed new stadium lights to Monarch Stadium (home of the football, lacrosse, and track teams), renovated several holes at the Downback Golf Course (a full 18-hole course on the MU campus), and is currently breaking ground on MU softball’s new Price Field House.
“Methodist University Athletics has a rich tradition of excellence and we are so thankful to the Duggins family and everyone who donated to help support the soccer stadium renovation,” said Dave Eavenson, vice president and director of athletics at MU. “We take pride in providing a first-class experience for our student-athletes and this stadium is another important step to help us achieve that goal. I feel this stadium puts us among the elite soccer complexes in NCAA Division III and will serve our students well for years to come.”
That continuing tradition of excellence is one of the reasons Duggins is so excited about the stadium and the future of MU.
“Methodist University means a great deal to this community with all that it offers,” he said. “This university has a firm foundation and I can see that in the quality of its students and graduates I’ve gotten to know over the years. We’re very honored to be a part of it and have our name on this soccer stadium.”