Covellis gift $1 million for athletics complex

Generosity. Tradition. Community.

Those were among the words President Jim Tressel used to thank Sam and Caryn Covelli for their recent $1 million gift to enhance and maintain YSU athletics facilities across from Stambaugh Stadium.

“We are honored to partner with the Covellis to continue the dramatic improvement to the Fifth Avenue gateway and to enhance the campus learning experiences of our students,” Tressel said. “The affiliation with the Covelli family name, a name that speaks to excellence, is a blessing for YSU.”

In recognition of the gift, the athletics facilities have been named the Covelli Sports Complex.

Covelli is owner/operator of Covelli Enterprises, headquartered in the Mahoning Valley. The company operates more than 300 Panera bread bakery-cafés, O’Charley’s restaurants and Dairy Queen stores in Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. 

"We are honored to be able to help the university in its mission to provide a first class athletic complex for their soccer, track and field, and softball programs,” he said.                             

The facilities include Farmers National Bank Field and the YSU softball field, as well as a proposed new tennis center.

For many years, the neighborhood was blighted by vacant homes and empty lots. In 2013, after more than a decade of acquiring and cleaning up the property, YSU constructed a soccer/track/softball complex.

“Having our teams play right here on campus creates energy and excitement across the university, improving the college experience for all students,” said Ron Strollo, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics.