Foley officials have announced plans for an outdoor sports complex, to be built by the city. The complex will consist of 12 state-of-the-art outdoor fields that can be used for soccer, football and lacrosse, and a 100,000-square-foot sports and events center that will accommodate volleyball, basketball and other indoor sporting events.
Construction of the $27 million complex could begin as early as March, with completion slated for 2015, according to city officials. The economic impact of the complex is estimated at $38 million annually, based on an economic impact study commissioned by the city.
A multi-lane entrance into the new facility will be created off Alabama 59 with the extension of Pride Drive, as part of a $12 million federal transportation grant which Foley received last year. The new roadway, which will extend Pride Drive east past Juniper Street, will lead directly into the new sports complex and ultimately connect to Baldwin County 20.
Foley officials made a second announcement, this concerning the hiring of Don Staley as executive director for the sports complex that will provide the city with the capacity to host large indoor and outdoor sports tournaments.
Staley is the former executive director of sports for the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission.
"I'm very excited to have Don Staley join our team," said Mayor John Koniar. "He is highly respected in his profession and brings a wealth of experience to the job. Don will enable us to hit the ground running and help us maximize our potential for this project in a much quicker time frame. Great to have an individual of his caliber join us."
Staley was instrumental in forming the Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation, where he served as executive director. The organization later merged with the Tuscaloosa Convention and Visitors Bureau to create the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission, where he served as executive director of sports.
Staley played a large role in building Tuscaloosa's sports tourism program, where he led the initiative to bring the AHSAA Super Six football championships, along with hundreds of other events, to Bryant Denny Stadium.
"The decision to leave was not an easy one. Tuscaloosa's been our home the past 21 years, but I was presented with a once-in-a-career dream opportunity that no sports tourism executive could possibly decline. I guess you could say I enjoy the challenge of building something," Staley said.
"My partnership with TTSC has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling. I have high regard for the board, staff, local sports stakeholders and without question Mayor Walt Maddox and his leadership with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved," Staley said.
Staley served as the head soccer coach at The University of Alabama from 1994-2008. In 2005, Staley helped bring the SEC Women's Soccer Championship playoffs to Orange Beach, Ala., where it continues today. Before starting the program at UA in 1994, Staley was the head men's and women's coach at Radford University in Virginia.
In 2004, Staley became only the fifth coach in NCAA soccer history to reach the 300-win mark. His overall career record of 324-257-38 spans 23 years. As a head coach at the Division 1 collegiate level, Staley garnered four Coach of the Year awards in two different leagues.