In the 11-year history of Major League Lacrosse, Commissioner David Gross said he’s heard just one fan complaint. And this particular fan was concerned that the thrill-a-minute competition provided “too much action.”
“We’ll take that more as a compliment,” Gross said as he spoke August 16 at Ohio Wesleyan University, where the league’s newest team, the Ohio Machine, announced plans to play its 2012 and 2013 home seasons in OWU’s historic Selby Stadium.
In explaining the team’s choice of venues, Ohio Machine President and General Manager John Algie praised Ohio’s “large, passionate, and rapidly growing lacrosse community” and the grandeur of Selby Stadium, which will allow the team to provide an “unforgettable game-day experience.”
“Every fan will find something here to enjoy,” Algie said, outlining plans for tailgating, an interactive fan zone, and more when the Ohio Machine’s 2012 season kicks off in May.
OWU President Rock Jones, Ph.D., proclaimed it a “terrific day for Ohio Wesleyan, a terrific day for the City of Delaware, and a terrific day for the County of Delaware” to be getting the community’s first major league athletics team.
And Ohio Wesleyan is an especially fitting location, Jones told the crowd of media, campus, and community representatives gathered to hear the Ohio Machine announcement.
“There is a rich history of competition at Selby Stadium,” he said, and a rich history of athletics at Ohio Wesleyan that includes 23 varsity men’s and women’s sports and a pioneering lacrosse program that dates back more than 50 years and has made 27 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament appearances.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting announcement,” Jones said. “We look forward to next May when we light up the field and begin the competition.”
During the news conference, held in OWU’s Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, the Ohio Machine also announced Ted Garber as its head coach.
Garber’s ties to Major League Lacrosse (MLL) date to the league’s founding, when he was head coach during the 2000 MLL Summer Showcase Tour. He also has served as head coach of the former Bridgeport Barrage and as an assistant coach in Boston, Chicago, and Rochester. In 2008, Garber was recognized by U.S. Lacrosse for his 200th career victory.
When he spoke, Garber noted his connection to former Battling Bishop lacrosse players Jeff Coulson ’71 and Mark Goldsmith ’81. Garber also recognized OWU alumnus Zach Gagel ’00, a former MLL player for the Chicago Machine, who came back to campus for the announcement.
“I think it’s going to be a great fit for our guys,” Garber said of their new Selby Stadium home. He noted the players would enjoy being so close to the fans “especially when we’re doing well.”
“It’s going to be perfect,” Garber concluded.