Athletics: JMU Nation takes the Purple Pride everywhere
31-21! That national championship score and an entire magical 2004 season is etched firmly in the mind and lore of the JMU Nation.
From a national football championship and more than 30 conference titles to major facility improvements and tremendous upgrades to student-athlete support, intercollegiate athletics have soared during the Rose presidency. 31-21 — That score will long remind the JMU Nation of the Dukes' magical 2004 football march to glory. Head coach Mickey Matthews led his team to a never-before-seen feat of consecutive road playoff wins that included knocking off the University of Montana in the NCAA Division 1-AA title game in Chattanooga, Tenn.
In the past two years athletics facility improvements — unprecedented for a school JMU's size — have included boosting Bridgeforth Stadium seating to 25,000; opening the new Veterans Memorial Park that includes 1,200 capacity Eagle Field for baseball and the 500-seat softball section; and the ongoing University Park facilities that will soon play home at Neff Ave. and Port Republic Rd. to JMU lacrosse, field hockey, and track and field along with some much-needed nonvarsity intramural space.
Student-athlete success has spiked during the Rose years thanks in part of a multiplicity of factors including the beautiful Robert and Frances Plecker Athletics Center with its first-class study area and also because of increased fundraising efforts that have seen, among other milestones, the creation of the Student Duke Club. Take a look at the following JMU academic success since 2000: 10 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans (the nationally recognized standard); 34 CoSIDA Academic All-District; two CAA Male/Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year and eight CAA Sport Scholar-Athletes of the Year.