Salesian dedicates Br. Wiegand Field

Legendary high school basketball coach Br. James Wiegand, SDB, surrounded by Salesian High School students, breaks ground on a new athletic facility to be named after him.

“After months of planning, our long awaited dream to construct a new athletic facility at Salesian High School will finally become a reality,” announced Fr. Patrick Angelucci, SDB, the school’s director/president.

The students, alumni, faculty, administration and representatives of the Salesians of St. John Bosco – the religious order that owns and operates the school – held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Br. Jim Wiegand, SDB Athletic Center at the site of the new facility on Friday, May 1, at 9:15 a.m. The school is located at 148 Main Street in New Rochelle, NY.

The fifteen thousand plus square foot building, named after Salesian’s legendary Basketball Coach and Athletic Hall of Fame inductee Br. James Wiegand, SDB, is designed by The General Steel Corporation and will house a regulation size basketball court, bleacher seating for the entire student body, a wrestling room, a strength and conditioning center, locker/shower facilities and office space.

“The new facility will provide much needed space to help meet the spiraling demands of the school’s growing athletic and performing arts programs,” said the school’s principal John Flaherty. According to Flaherty, the facility will not only be a tremendous boost to the sports program; but, it will also help free up some much needed space in the existing gymnasium to house a band room and expand the drama program.

It is well known that in his 19-year career at Salesian High School (1961-1980), Br. Jim’s athletic program provided a well-rounded, balanced, athletic program that raised school spirit and instilled principles of sportsmanship, competition, and fair play. His “Eagles” basketball team won a New York State Championship in 1976 as well as an unprecedented eight league championships – 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976, and 1979.

“It’s really amazing we’re actually going to be doing this,” said senior Jeffrey Vargas. “We owe a big thanks to the Salesians and to the donors who are backing this project. My only regret is that I will be in college next year and I will not be here to enjoy the new gym; but, I know I will always be welcomed at the school when I come to visit.”

The Br. Jim Wiegand, SDB Athletic Center is the first free standing building erected on the Salesian High School Campus since the current gymnasium was built in 1927. Construction is expected to begin in late spring and completion is slated for December 2009.

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