The view from the grandstands as Ohio State takes on Air Force in the first official game at Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium on Feb. 4.

Ohio State Lacrosse Ups the Ante with New $24 Million Stadium

When Joe Breschi inherited the Ohio State men’s lacrosse program in 1998, the Buckeyes practiced on a dusty patch of earth next to Ohio Stadium. They shared a locker room with other non-revenue sports, offered no scholarships, had just two winning seasons in the previous decade and routinely lost to Ohio’s small college teams like Denison and Ohio Wesleyan.

Now the coach at North Carolina, Breschi was reminded of the Buckeyes’ beggarly beginnings as he walked off the heated turf at the new $24 million Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium last Sunday following the Tar Heels’ 8-5 loss in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,363 fans. A longtime university administrator approached him after the game and said, “It’s a far cry from the dirt field we had outside the Horseshoe.”

For Breschi’s successor and current Ohio State coach Nick Myers, it meant even more that his mentor was there to witness the first sellout at a venue designed exclusively for the program he brought to national prominence. The Buckeyes trailed 4-2 at halftime but allowed just one goal the rest of the game, scoring five unanswered goals in a span of 20 minutes, 47 seconds to take control.

Myers sensed the home-field advantage.

“To make that run in fourth quarter and feel the crowd, it was amazing,” he said. “They were really impacting the game.”

“It’s a far cry from the dirt field we had outside the Horseshoe.”

That’s precisely what Ohio State had in mind when it designed a stadium with 360-degree vantage points, a walkable concourse that’s six feet above the field and puts spectators right behind team benches, a rooftop viewing area and six entry points. A lacrosse-specific training facility on the north side of the stadium has an especially cool feature — an indoor shooting room enclosed by a garage door from which the home team emerges in an entrance with WWE vibes.

The stadium was built by Buckeyes. Former Ohio State women’s lacrosse player Regina Doty is a project engineer for the construction company that built the stadium. Former Ohio State men’s lacrosse player Andrew Elmer is a project manager for the architecture firm that designed it.

Myers described it as more than just a venue. “It’s a flagship,” he said.



Funded entirely by private donations, the stadium has energized alumni dating back to the original team in 1949. The 2003 team Breschi led to the NCAA tournament — a first for the program — will be back on campus next week for a 20th anniversary celebration when the Buckeyes host Cornell.

“When I got there, [then-athletic director] Andy Geiger said to me as part of the process, ‘We’re either going to drop the program or we’re going to sink our teeth into it,’” Breschi said. “It was a gradual process.”

Ohio State started offering lacrosse scholarships in 2000. The team moved to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, a new multi-sport facility, in the fall of 2001. The Buckeyes made the NCAA tournament in 2003 and 2004 and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2008 — the same year Breschi convinced then-football coach Jim Tressel to allow the team to stage a lacrosse game as an opening act for the annual spring football game. The Showdown in the Shoe set regular season attendance records three years in a row, culminating in a crowd of 31,078 that saw Ohio State beat Air Force in 2010.

A 1990 North Carolina graduate and two-time U.S. national team defenseman as a player, Breschi left for his alma mater following the 2008 season. Ohio State hired Myers, Breschi’s top assistant, two months later.

After Myers led the Buckeyes to their first final four and a national championship game appearance in 2017, an anonymous donor kickstarted the campaign for a stadium and training facilities occupied exclusively by the Ohio State men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. Seeing archrival Michigan and Big Ten foe Penn State unveil new lacrosse-only venues in 2018 and 2019, respectively, only added to the fundraising momentum.

But the pandemic almost brought the project to its knees.

“For six months there, I thought there was no shot,” Myers said. “Then a glimmer of light. But when we do come out of it, everything costs twice as much. Back to the drawing board. Raise more money.”


Junior midfielder Connor Cmiel and coach Nick Myers inside the shooting room minutes before taking the field against Air Force.

Ohio State’s board of trustees approved the project in August 2021. Construction started three months later. The stadium lights and turf — underpinned by 24 heat sensors and more than 21 miles of PEX piping that keep the field warm and melt snow instantaneously — were installed this past fall.

Ohio State has yet to lose in its new stadium. The men’s lacrosse team, ranked No. 8 in this week’s Nike/USA Lacrosse Top 20, is 3-0 with wins at home against Air Force, Cleveland State and North Carolina. The women’s lacrosse team beat Robert Morris and Temple at home and San Diego State on the road before falling at USC on Sunday.



“Beyond just Buckeye lacrosse, it’s a place where Ohio lacrosse can hang their hat,” Myers said, noting that the Premier Lacrosse League will host a weekend of professional lacrosse games there in June and that the university hopes to host high school state championships. “People are really into the game here. Columbus is a hot city right now. It’s really on fire. This is another opportunity for a town that just loves its sports.”

Myers and company fly to Florida this weekend for a neutral-site game Saturday against No. 1 Virginia at Paradise Coast Sports Complex in Naples. It will feel enough like home. Senior attackman Jack Myers’ parents have a house there where the team and families will have lunch Friday. The top-10 showdown figures to be a clash of styles: Ohio State’s half-field efficiency against Virginia’s high-risk, high-reward brand of lacrosse.

Then it’s back to Columbus, where the newest cathedral in college lacrosse awaits.