In the spring of 2023, Denison University will break ground on a state-of-the-art soccer and lacrosse facility, complete with a synthetic turf field, press box, permanent bleachers, outdoor lighting, and scoreboards. Named for former Big Red lacrosse midfielder Rick Kienzle ’85 and his wife, Cindy, Kienzle Stadium will open for the 2024 lacrosse season.
“I want to invest in world-class facilities for our world-class students,” said Kienzle, who played on the nationally ranked 1985 lacrosse team. “Denison is on a winning streak, and I am building on the trajectory of other great new facilities like the Hoaglin Wellness Center and the Eisner Center for the Performing Arts.”
“Denison has been fortunate to continually upgrade campus through the generosity of donors such as the Kienzles,” President Adam Weinberg said. “I am incredibly grateful to Rick and Cindy for supporting this project. It’s an important project for our Athletics Department and will be great for the entire campus community, elevating the experience for our athletes and the many fans who cheer them on.”
The new stadium will upgrade Barclay-Thomsen Field, the home to men’s and women’s soccer programs named for former Denison coach and athletic director Ted Barclay and former men’s lacrosse coach and professor Tommy Thomsen. Denison will continue to recognize and memorialize Barclay and Thomsen in this space.
“Kienzle Stadium is designed to benefit the entire campus community,” said Director of Athletics Nan Carney-DeBord ’80. “Currently, our varsity sports are all sharing one turf facility, which taxes our coaches and students with late night hours. This new stadium will be used by several of our varsity sports teams. We are very grateful for the extraordinary gift of Rick and Cindy Kienzle and other loyal donors.”
Kienzle’s love for lacrosse began in 10th grade when he first picked up a stick.
“I started playing in high school, but Coach Tommy Thomsen taught me the game,” he said. “He didn’t quit on me when I wanted to quit on myself, and that was really formative for me. I didn’t always understand it or even like it at the time — there was a lot of tough love wrapped around it.”
Under Thomsen’s guidance, the 1985 team (including team captains Tom Riehl and Chris Ross and seniors Gary Becker, Chris Painter, and the late Henry Galleher) went undefeated in conference play and made it to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals, finishing the season ranked seventh nationally.
“I’m still close with a lot of my team members,” he said. “Those relationships and the opportunity to play on a nationally ranked team — what an outstanding experience.”
After graduating from Denison, Kienzle began his career working in surgical sales and was trained and licensed to work in the operating room as part of a surgical team.
“Early in my training, I had to learn the things that were available to me at Denison, like biology, chemistry, and physics,” he said. “It was a pretty circuitous route for a history major from central Ohio.”
Over time, Kienzle took advantage of his training and exposure to the medical and commercial side of the business to partner with biomechanical engineers and launch his own company to develop and support non-invasive spine implants.
Today, Kienzle is retired and living just outside Philadelphia and attends Big Red men’s and women’s lacrosse games as often as possible.
“These teams have earned this stadium,” he said. “I’m proud of Denison’s excellence in athletics and academics, and I want to help attract even more of the best and brightest.”
Help us fund a true game-changer
The Big Red men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer teams have been nationally prominent since their earliest days. With this new facility, Denison will compete and contend for national titles year in and year out.
The stadium will:
- Help Denison recruit the best lacrosse and soccer talent and allow coaches to develop players and teams to their fullest potential.
- Ensure access to conference-leading practice facilities that will elevate the teams’ performance from the first whistle to the final seconds.
- Enhance the Big Red fan experience, featuring great views from every seat and a festive, informal student section, building on Denison’s longtime gameday tradition.
All fundraising must be complete by June 30, 2023, to make this stadium a reality. Interested parties are kindly asked to contact Kurt Foriska, associate vice president for individual giving, at 740-587-6733 or email@example.com.
Note: This story was updated on April 14, 2023, to reflect the expansion of this project.