Track and field to be upgraded

Facility will be named for legendary alumnus

By Greg Scheiderer

The university has announced plans for significant improvements to Baker Stadium and Shotwell Track, and will name its playing field and field events areas for one of the most respected and illustrious figures in the history of Logger athletics.

Peyton Field in Baker Stadium will be named in honor of Joe Peyton ’67, M.E. ’71, star athlete and longtime coach and faculty member.

"I’m overwhelmed," said Peyton. "I’m flying high. I don’t think I can find the words to express my gratitude for this honor."

As a student, Peyton earned 11 letters in football, basketball and track, winning all-conference honors in all three sports. He was a Pacific Coast high jump champion and as an Associated Press All-America end was one of the greatest pass receivers in Logger history.

After graduation Peyton taught at Tacoma’s Baker Middle School for a year, then returned to Puget Sound. He was head track and field coach and was on the faculty of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics for 29 years. He retired in 1997. He is a member of the University of Puget Sound Athletic Hall of Fame both as an athlete and as a coach, the only person with such a dual honor. He’s also a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Hall of Fame as a track coach

"The University of Puget Sound has been my life," said Peyton, who still comes to campus almost every day to visit friends or play a little basketball. "It’s a beautiful campus with wonderful facilities, but the big thing is the people. There are so many wonderful people. What more could you want?"

Puget Sound President Susan Resneck Pierce said there could not be a more fitting tribute to Peyton.

"His successes as a student-athlete and a coach are legendary," said Pierce. "During his tenure on campus and since his retirement, Joe has been an important part of the campus community and, through his volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and other groups, an important part of the Tacoma community."

The project will include these improvements to the stadium facilities:

• Playing field. Peyton Field in Baker Stadium will be widened to accommodate regulation-size soccer and lacrosse configurations. New areas will be created for field events such as the high jump and pole vault.

• Shotwell track. The Don Shotwell track will be expanded to eight lanes and resurfaced. This will bring it up to NCAA standards.

• Stadium amenities. Rest-rooms and concession stands will be added to Baker Stadium.

The project is made possible by the generosity of a family long associated with Puget Sound. In addition, a number of people have given gifts for construction of a high jump area in Peyton’s name, and President Pierce believes those donors will be pleased to have their gifts magnified by becoming part of the larger project.

"The project will benefit the campus in a variety of ways," she said. "In addition to directly aiding sports programs, it will enhance such all-campus events as Commencement," which is held in Baker Stadium each May.

No formal construction timeline has been established. Planning is underway, with the hope of doing the work either next summer or in 2003.

Baker Stadium is named after prominent Tacoma businessman John S. Baker, whose 1964 bequest made construction of the facility possible. Shotwell track is named after J.D. Shotwell, a former Logger football player. Shotwell was a longtime contributor to the Logger athletic program.