CASTLETON — Dave Wolk didn’t hit 714 home runs, but nobody was quibbling with Jeb Spaulding’s analogy comparing Wolk to Babe Ruth. Spaulding, the chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System, said that since Yankee Stadium is the House that Ruth Built, then Castleton University’s multi-purpose stadium is the “House that Wolk Built.” His words resonated with the large group of people gathered in front of the stadium for Saturday’s dedication of the facility that was renamed Dave Wolk Stadium. It was Wolk who had the vision to bring football to Castleton and to have the 5,000-capacity stadium built when he was president of the school. The stadium, until Saturday known as Spartan Stadium, was erected in 2009. Wolk praised numerous people during his speech including Athletic Director Deanna Tyson and Associate Athletic Director Tim Barrett. He named many others, not forgetting the custodial staff and their importance to Castleton. “They are unsung heroes. They clean this place morning, noon and night and make it beautiful,” Wolk said. “It is fitting we dedicate the school’s stadium just before we kick off our 10th season of Castleton football,” Castleton President Karen Scolforo said as the opening speaker at the ceremony. She praised Wolk for “creating a place that not only feels like home, but is home.” Tyson said that when Wolk first mentioned the idea of starting football at Castleton, she thought he was joking. She said she and others drove in vans throughout New York and New England to get ideas for what needed to be in place to install a football program. “I finally stopped calling football the ‘F’ word,” Tyson said, drawing laughter from the crowd. Spaulding said Wolk “transformed Castleton from good to great.” Spaulding also made sure to point out all the other landmarks that rose up during Wolk’s tenure. “The stadium is the cherry on top of Dave’s Castleton sundae,” Spaulding said, but then pointed to other monuments to his administration like Hoff Hall, the Casella Theater and the Castleton Pavilion. “All of this and more is because of Dave,” he said. Wolk called the stadium “a Field of Dreams.” One of the most touching parts of his speech was when he spoke of his father and mother and how he wished they could be there for the moment. His father recently died and his mother is in Florida in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. He told of how his father would attend games at Spartan Stadium in Section 5 at age 97 with his wheelchair and walker, dressed in the trademark Castleton 343 green. He referred to him as a Castleton No. 1 fan in the mold of Rich and Nancy Glasscock, a couple often referred to as the Castleton athletic teams’ No. 1 fans. He thanked Chris Fucci for “almost single-handedly” starting a Friends of Football organization at the inception of the program, and for his part in creating the culture of an amazing game day experience through tailgating. The band played an intro and then with a flourish the cover was dropped, unveiling the words: Dave Wolk Stadium. Somehow, it just seemed right. Follow Tom on Twitter @RHSportsGuy tom.haley@rutlandherald.com

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