WILMORE, Ky. — After announcing a track and field program in 2022, Asbury celebrates the groundbreaking on January 18 at 3:00 p.m. for phase one of a multi-use Outdoor Venue project. The $5 million initial phase includes an eight-lane track, turf field, lighting and fencing adjacent to the school’s athletics facilities. The university is still actively fundraising for the second phase of the project, which will include spectator seating, locker rooms, public restrooms, and a press box/event space designed to host other university and public events.
“We are deeply moved by the generosity and support for this vision to build an outdoor venue that will serve the entire campus community and provide a place for student-athletes, including our new track and field teams, to train and compete,” said Vice President of Athletics & University Communications Mark Whitworth. “God continues to work in the hearts of students at Asbury and this facility will create new opportunities for transformational change. We are humbled and thankful!”
D.W. Wilburn, Inc. is contracted for the project and site work began in early January on the 8-lane track, turf field, lighting and fencing which will allow the new men’s and women’s track and field teams to train at the facility beginning this fall under the leadership of Bridges. The new facility also is significant with Asbury’s recent move to NCAA Division III competition. The team’s season officially begins in the 2023-24 academic year.
“Seeing the shovel in the ground for the new track and field facility is an exciting next step for this program. The outdoor facility will not only help our track athletes train and compete at a high level, but also provide a great venue for Asbury Athletics and the campus community as a whole,” said track and field head coach O’Brian Bridges. “I am thrilled to see this program coming together and can’t wait to see what the future holds for TeamAU track and field. I am honored to lead Asbury’s newest teams through this exciting new time.”
Bridges brings a decade of coaching experience along with deep connections to central Kentucky. An accomplished sprinter and hurdler at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) from 2003-07, he served five years as an assistant coach for the Colonels from 2013-18. His resume also includes NCAA Division III and high school coaching experience. Bridges, who earned a master’s at EKU and served as an adjunct professor, has focused his coaching efforts on sprints, hurdles, jumps and throws. Under his guidance, several student-athletes have experienced national and conference success. He also has also coached individual state champions and all-state performers at the high school level.
Phase one of the facility is expected to be open near the start of the 2023 fall semester. When phase two is complete, it will be available to host various campus events and activities, including commencement, chapel, and intramurals. The Outdoor Venue will also be available to host youth sports events and community gatherings.
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