FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) The brand new athletics complex at Francis Marion University is not only re-igniting that sense of school pride for students and athletes, but they're hoping it will really puts FMU athletics on the map.
"I still sometimes have to shake myself to make sure this is a reality, but it is," says head baseball coach, Art Inabinet.
The $11.1 million dollar Griffin Athletics Complex at Francis Marion is state of the art, bringing baseball, softball and soccer to one dynamite, central location.
"This environment is just wonderful to be able to have the baseball game going on the same time as a softball game," says head softball coach Stacey Vallee.
The complex took time to reach perfection, so baseball and softball had only a few chances to hit the field in the new park before the season came to a close.
Even it so, it's already earned a place in school history when two time college world series champs USC came down for one special game. A sold out crowd cheered as the Patriots took down the almighty Gamecocks 5 to 4.
The coaches believe this re-energized atmosphere will translate into recruiting success they've never experienced before.
Art says, "so far recruiting is going extremely well. We haven't had a kid come into this facility that's been disappointed with it, so we expect good things for our program in the future."
"It is a huge difference. We've actually lost some kids due to our old facilities so this will be able to get some kids that maybe we weren't able to get before and also may be able to steal them away from some other schools that don't have this facility," says Stacey.
For now, the stands sit empty, the score board unused and the speakers unplugged, but optimism over next season has never been stronger.
"The metamorphosis of this place has gone through is truly amazing and I'm just excited to be a part of it. and it's a dream come true for Francis Marion," says Art.
The brand new field house is the last phase of the construction for this athletic's complex. Right now, they're still raising money to finish it, but once it's complete, it will include a new training room, weight room and lockers.