Baseball, track facilities named to honor coaches

The SIU Athletic Department will honor current and former coaches by adorning their names on two of the newest facilities.

The new track facility will be named the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex to commemorate former men’s track coach Lew Hartzog, who coached SIU from 1961 to 1984. The throws area of the track facility will be named after current coach Connie Price-Smith.

When the renovations to Abe Martin Field are completed, the stadium will be named after former coach Richard “Itchy” Jones. Athletic Director Mario Moccia said the field itself will still be named after Abe Martin, but it will be called Abe Martin Field at Richard “Itchy” Jones Stadium.

The clubhouse at the baseball field is named after Jones, so it will be renamed after late coach Dan Callahan, who died of a rare form of skin cancer in 2010.

First baseman Chris Serritella, who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday, played under Callahan for two seasons. He said Callahan always taught him to do the right thing and taught him to be a better person.

Moccia said the athletic department wanted to honor the three longest-tenured coaches of the baseball program. He said it was a no-brainer to have something named after Callahan, whom the players adored during his 16 seasons as coach.

Moccia said it was also a no-brainer to have the track facility named after Hartzog, whose name adorned the old track at McAndrew Stadium.

“Lew was our coach during the golden age of Saluki track,” Moccia said. “He coached world record holders, coached Olympians … and a lot of the former track people said they would really like to see the name continue.”

Moccia said having the facility named after Hartzog would help raise funds from the track alumni for the cost of the facility.

Price-Smith is a former Olympian and current coach of the track team, which is getting ready for NCAA Championships June 6-9. Moccia said it will be the first facility named after an African-American on the SIUC campus.

“It’s an honor to have something named after you and to know that people think that much of you to do that,” Price-Smith said. “It’s exciting.”

The naming of the facilities was approved at the SIU Board of Trustees meeting May 10.


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