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Track & Field and Cross Country Programs Dedicate Brand New Locker Rooms During Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Nov. 11, 2017

Photo Gallery: Track & Field Locker Room Dedication Ceremony
Photo Gallery: Track & Field Locker Rooms and Penn Relays Wheel Display

VILLANOVA, Pa.--For the second time in the past two years, the Villanova track & field family came together to celebrate the program’s tradition and the generosity of Robert F. Moran ’72, who has made possible the opening of the track & field office suite in 2015 and brand new locker rooms for the track & field and cross country teams which were dedicated during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

The newly completed project, located behind Villanova Stadium in the space that previously housed the varsity strength & conditioning facility, includes locker rooms for the men’s and women’s track & field and cross country student-athletes, a central lounge area, a multi-level workout space and an additional coach’s office. The locker rooms and common areas showcase the history and success of the Wildcats program, most notably on a wall of champions which stretches from the lounge area and up a ramp that leads to the downstairs workout space.

“Seven years ago when we started dreaming together, we talked about what we could do for the tradition of Villanova track & field and cross country, and the future of the program,” Moran said. “We started talking about how we could put a dream together that would last for the next 25-50 years. That was kind of special. If that doesn’t get your creative juices going then nothing will. I come from a world where you pay it forward and you give back, and that was part of the dream.”

Villanova University Director of Athletics Mark Jackson made opening remarks during Saturday’s dedication and offered a champagne toast to Moran’s generosity, and to the past, present and future success of Villanova track & field. He also introduced Wildcats men’s and women’s track & field and cross country head coaches Marcus O’Sullivan ‘84 and Gina Procaccio ‘87.

 

 

“I want to be the first of many today to thank Bob Moran,” Jackson said. “This is a really great time to be a Wildcat. It is my third year here and I have come to know Bob as a friend. He has inspired not only our track & field programs but our other teams as well. It is a tremendous responsibility when you think about Villanova track & field, which is the most significant and successful program in the history of sports for us as a university. I couldn’t think of two better people to uphold that responsibility than Marcus and Gina. I lean on them both, not only for insight into track & field but for understanding the culture of Villanova and the decisions we make.”

Saturday’s event began with a reception outside the locker rooms for more than 100 alumni, families and supporters of Villanova track & field and cross country. Following the dedication ceremony and the official ribbon cutting, the locker rooms were opened up to all on hand, with Moran the first to enter the facility that he helped to create.

“I first met Bob seven years ago, and soon after that he came into my office and started to say ‘let’s create something, let’s visualize something,’” O’Sullivan said. “Bob’s vision and his dream is intoxicating because it is so awe-inspiring. I think he gave us a jolt of inspiration, of belief in ourselves, and a jolt of trying to do something and extend the history way beyond our time. Today is a day that will push us for the next half century. That’s how important this is to us.”

“It really was a turning point for Marcus and I in terms of inspiration,” Procaccio said. “When you find somebody that believes in you that much and really wants to help you, it definitely got us fired up to do more in terms of our job and we thank Bob for that. We have a new energy. We’re more excited, and excited to show the kids on the team and incoming recruits what our program is about.”

Another project just completed is the reinstallation of the Penn Relays Championship of America wheels in the hallway leading from the Andrew J. Talley Athletic Center to the Villanova Stadium track. The men’s and women’s track & field programs have combined to win more than 130 championships at the Penn Relays over the past 80-plus years, and the wheels themselves transcend a singular track & field event and have come to be a symbol of the tradition of excellence that defines the Villanova program.

The reinstallation project aligned the Penn Relays wheels in chronological order, beginning with ‘The First Wheel’ in 1932 and continuing through to the three most recent Championship of America titles won by the women’s program during a sweep of the distance relay events this past spring. The display also includes a plaque that commemorates Villanova’s history at the world’s oldest and largest track & field event. Moran noted the significance of that history during his remarks.

“From the bottom of my heart I just want to say thank you to Marcus and Gina for what you have done with the program. I kind of put some pressure on them. Part of the give back was they had to get a wheel every year from the Penn Relays, so let’s keep it going.”

Remarks from the Dedication of the Track & Field and Cross Country Locker Room

Mark Jackson, Villanova University Director of Athletics

I want to be the first of many to thank Bob Moran. This is my third year at Villanova and I have come to know Bob as a friend. It is great to be able to pick up the phone and call Bob on a number of things. He has inspired not only our track & field programs but our other teams as well. We have lacrosse locker rooms ongoing and we just got done with a baseball locker room, so it’s really a great time to be a Wildcat.

It is a tremendous responsibility when you think about Villanova track & field, which is by far the most significant and successful program in the history of sports for us as a university. I couldn’t think of two better people to uphold that responsibility than Marcus and Gina. I lean on them both for insight into track & field but I also lean on them for a lot as it relates to understanding the culture of Villanova and the decisions we make. It is my great pleasure to introduce our head track & field coach Marcus O’Sullivan and women’s track & field head coach Gina Procaccio.

Marcus O’Sullivan, Frank J. Kelly Endowed Track & Field Coach

On behalf of my whole staff, I want to thank everyone for being here. The thing that I take the most pride in is bringing people back together. I take so much pride and job in introducing people of different generations to each other.

Thank you, Bob. I really mean that. I first met Bob seven years ago and I have come to know how much passion he has for track. I came to know how much devotion and concern he has, and how much influence he tries to wield on track & field in a very, very positive way. He came into the office a few years ago, and as he looked around he started to say ‘let’s create something, let’s visualize something.’ The things that came out of our initial meetings were that he wanted somebody to walk in and say ‘wow.’ The program deserves that, not [Gina and I], the program. All of us. The history deserves it. Bob also wanted to create and stimulate philanthropic giving, not just from himself but from others. His vision and his dream is intoxicating in many ways because it is so awe-inspiring. I think he gave us a jolt of inspiration, a jolt of belief in ourselves and a jolt of trying to do something and extend the history way beyond our time.

As Mark alluded to, not only did Bob inspire us, he inspired other coaches. He inspired other teams, he inspired Mark. There was this kind of overall inspirational atmosphere around him. I remember the first day I brought a recruit in – it was this spring – and the moment I brought him into the locker I started to smile because the young man said ‘wow.’ I didn’t say anything but I smiled because what I was thinking about was that’s what Bob wanted to do. I have never signed anyone early in my 20 year tenure here, and we signed four athletes this week. The thing I was very cognizant of was that what needed to be attached to Bob’s giving was others giving as well. I stand before you and I can unquestionably tell you how much that has resonated with people.

I want to say a personal thank you to my staff. We have had 20 years together. The staff hasn’t changed. I always say with pride that my job is to keep my staff happy, because in turn they keep our athletes happy. Today is a special day. Today is a day that will push us for the next 25-50 years. That’s how important this is to us.

Gina Procaccio, Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country Head Coach

I want to say a big thank you to Bob. It really was a turning point for Marcus and I in terms of inspiration. When you find somebody that believes in you that much and really wants to help you, it definitely got us fired up to do more in terms of our job and we thank Bob for that. We have a new energy. We’re more excited, and excited to show the kids on the team and the recruits our program. I really appreciate Bob as a friend. We are both from Delaware County so I feel like we have always had a special connection.

Robert F. Moran ‘72

I feel like we are part of the ‘A’ team. I like a project when it comes about. It makes it real. Seven years ago when we started dreaming together, we talked about what we could do for the tradition of Villanova track & field and cross country, and the future of the program. We started talking about how we could put a dream together that would last for the next 25-50 years. That was kind of special. If that doesn’t get your creative juices going then nothing will. I come from a world where you pay it forward and you give back, and that was part of the dream. How do we all start living in a world where we pay it forward and give back? I have been very excited to be a part of this. I have developed some wonderful relationships and got myself reconnected to Villanova. That is also close to my heart.

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