Tennis upgrade, new golf facility will boost student-athlete experience
Lance Lysaught spent his days playing and watching tennis at Washburn thinking about how certain changes would improve the student-athlete and fan experience. Now, as head coach, he and golf coach Jeff Stromgren, also a former player, will see the visions they have for their programs come to life.
The Washburn Board of Regents approved plans in 2014-15 to renovate the Washburn Tennis Complex and build an indoor practice facility for the golf team to use at Topeka Country Club.
The tennis renovations include a native-stone wall and a scoreboard on the west end that will show scores from all six courts. New fencing and windscreens will be added. Future plans, as the campus master plan moves forward, include elevated grandstands on the north end that will give fans prime views of every court.
“It’s a multi-faceted improvement for our student-athletes, alumni and fans,” Lysaught, ba ’96, said. “I’m probably most excited about the atmosphere and the level of professionalism this can bring to the program.”
Though it’s not on campus, the golf facility will have a similar impact. Stromgren, b ed ’80, says the facility will give student-athletes an advantage when other teams haven’t yet been outdoors.
“This will really enhance the opportunities for our players,” he said. “To get to the NCAA tournament, you have to play well all season, including in early spring. I’ve done a lot of shoveling snow off ranges and putting areas. With this facility, obviously we wouldn’t have to do that.””
The building will have five bays that open to allow the golfers to hit onto a driving range while protecting them from rain and snow. There will also be a 66-foot wide chipping and putting green made from synthetic turf.
Both projects are being paid for by private fundraising and are a way to get former players and supporters excited and engaged.
“We are so grateful for the support we have seen already from alumni and friends for these projects,” JuliAnn Mazachek, president of Washburn University Foundation said. “This is such a great opportunity to improve the experience for our student-athletes and showcase our strong athletic programs.”
Current and future Ichabods will benefit from the upgrades.
“When we show recruits the renderings, their eyes get big,” Stromgren said. “When we actually have a building to show them, it should create even more enthusiasm and excitement.”
Lysaught had the same feelings. “If we want our program to stand out, we want our facility to stand out,” he said.