Mon, Mar. 20, 2017 - [RC Athletics]
The Rochester College Warriors have a new arena on campus and will finally, after 58 years, be able to play a true home game. The Warrior volleyball team and basketball teams have used various high schools in the area to play their home contests but now have a place to call "home". The Garth Pleasant Arena, which made its debut on February 18th, will host its first volleyball and women's basketball games beginning with the 2017-2018 season. The new arena brings a new level of excitement to the Warrior athletic programs as well as the Rochester College community.
The 23,000 square foot arena is capable of seating almost 1,000 people for games and is named after former men's head basketball coach and athletic director, Garth Pleasant. Coach Pleasant notched 720 collegiate wins in his 38 years of college coaching and was named to the Basketball Coaches' Association of Michigan's Hall of Fame in 2008.
"We are so thankful for all the donors who made this arena a reality for the school and our athletic programs," said head volleyball coach Shannon Billings. "To finally have a home gym for our team to play in is incredible. The volleyball program has had great success over the years, and our students have been so supportive by traveling to wherever we had home games. But to now have them directly on campus will only improve that connection between our team and campus. Excited doesn't even begin to describe how we feel about this arena."
Women's head basketball coach, Brent Wichtner, echoed those thoughts. "I am super excited to have the honor to coach the first women's basketball game in the new arena," said Coach Wichtner. "Coach Pleasant has made such a huge impact on me as a player and played a major role in my decision to want to coach. To play in Garth Pleasant Arena means the world to me."
The timing of the opening of the arena matches up with the Warrior athletic department's acceptance into the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. The 2017-18 season will mark the first time in school history that the volleyball and basketball teams will play a conference schedule. The arena will host eight home volleyball conference matches, beginning with a September 13th contest against Siena Heights University, and 11 home basketball conference games, starting with a November 15th match-up against University of Michigan-Dearborn, next season as well as several non-conference match-ups. All in all, it is an exciting time for the Warrior athletes as well.
"We are all beyond excited about our new arena and I'm especially excited to see the faces of alumni who have built so much into this school and athletic program," said junior women's basketball player Bethany McCord. "It's an honor to be a current student-athlete at RC and to be able to experience those doors opening to what we can finally call a home court." Junior volleyball player, Megan Juncaj, added, "My last season of college volleyball, being able to finally have our own arena, will only make the experience and the memories greater with teammates and all of the fans, making it truly feel like home."
McCord may have best summed up the meaning of the new arena to the Rochester College community. "I believe that Warrior pride will grow stronger from our alumni, current and future students and athletes," McCord said. "The Garth Pleasant Arena can easily be described as an answered prayer."