After a long wait, the St. Ambrose Fighting Bees opened their season on September 2nd in the Jack and Pat Bush Stadium. The stadium, which will be shared with Davenport Assumption High School, has been in construction for many years, and saw delays which pushed back the debut of the stadium.
Tony Huntley, the Director of Athletic Facilities, detailed the timeline for the construction of the new facilities. “The Stadium Project was a 3 phase project that started back in 2015 with Phase 1, which included a softball field, and two turf soccer lacrosse, and football fields. In 2018 we added a football locker room. In 2019 Phase 2 started with a football turf field, visitor side stands, and mini pressbox with a competition outdoor track with throws and jumps areas. Phase 3 was stalled due to Covid-19.”
Currently the stadium remains unfinished. St. Ambrose’s Athletic Director, Mike Holmes, attributes the further delay of the construction as partially being due to funding. “Part of the delay at this point is the funding necessary to complete the stadium, which will come down to discussion among our board and upper administration,” said Holmes.
Holmes views the stadium as an opportunity for the Bees to have a place to call home, as well as begin some new traditions. “Bush Stadium gives us a more prevalent ‘home’ feel to our games. The setting is more intimate, and feels like a campus community coming together to support our program. The march- out of our team from their locker room facilities to the playing field will create a cool tradition, and fans all around the field enhance the personal touch for the players and coaches,” said Holmes.
UW-Stout begins their drive backed into their own endzone. Photo by Cole Negen.
Players say it is nice to have a place to call their own after a long wait for the stadium’s completion. “I love the stadium because it’s actually our stadium,” commented Anthony Brown, a senior defensive lineman. “Brady Street Stadium is nice, but multiple teams use it so it’s never been just ours. I like how the stadium is closer to campus so more people on campus can come to games rather than driving to (Brady Street Stadium),” said Brown.
Fellow senior defensive lineman DJ Oshin shared the excitement. “It’s a chance to play football at a stadium with our name on it. The turf on the new field is nicer than what they have at Brady Street Stadium and the home atmosphere is a great feeling. Walking across the bridge and seeing the Bee on the center of the field is the best,” said Oshin.
St. Ambrose’s defense rallies to tackle the ballcarrier. Photo by Cole Negen.
Both Brown and Oshin also said that the delays for the stadium to be completed added to the anticipation. “I had heard about the stadium since my freshman year, so to finally get the chance to play on it after all the delays was something special,” commented Brown.
“The anticipation for the new stadium has been exciting. It feels like we’ve been waiting forever. I can’t wait to see the finished stadium and experience all the excitement,” said Oshin.
Although further construction is still to be completed, the Fighting Bee football team was given the green light to play their home opener of the 2023 season in the new stadium. It was an excited atmosphere as the Bees took on Wisconsin-Stout. It was a tough game for the Bees as they dropped the contest 35-7. Despite the loss, the players are excited to have a place to call their own.
The Bees were on the road on September 9th and September 16th where they suffered a pair of losses to Upper Iowa and Siena Heights. They will return to play their second game in the new stadium on September 23rd against St. Francis. The Bees will look to get their first win in the new stadium, and the first of what they hope will be many to come.