On Friday, September 8, the football field at the Swenson Athletic Complex was officially rededicated as Mazzaferro Field in honor of BSU Hall of Fame Coach Peter Mazzaferro. This was in the pregame ceremony before the Bears took on the WPI Engineers. The Bears went on to lose 23-20 after a blocked field goal on senior kicker Shane Drake in the final seconds of the game.
Peter Mazzaferro was the Bears head football coach for 36 years after being hired by former Head Coach Ed Swenson as an assistant in 1966. In 1968, Mazzaferro became the head coach after Swenson decided to focus on his duties as the athletic director. Mazzaferro went 195-137-7 during his time at Bridgewater State, leading the Bears to win the New England Football Conference seven times (1969, 1989, 1992, 1997-2000). While at Bridgewater State, he was also an associate professor of physical education for 34 years.
Before Bridgewater, Mazzaferro was a three-sport athlete at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, playing football, basketball and track until he graduated in 1954. He later held coaching positions at Springfield College, Waynesburg College (PA), and Curry College before being hired as an assistant for the Bears.
Present at the ceremony alongside Mazzaferro himself was President Fred Clark, Dr. Joe Oravecz, and Athletic Director Dr. Marybeth Lamb. Former BSU football players under Mazzaferro were also in attendance, including Head Coach Joe Verria, who played for Mazzaferro from 1976 to 1979. Verria was also one of his key defensive assistants from 1988-2004, becoming head coach 12 years.
The Comment talked to President Clark about the process of renaming the field. According to President Clark, the idea came from former football players and BSU alumni. They have asked him during the eight years that Clark has been president, and Clark said that “it was the right time to do it, because Pete is getting older, and we wanted to do it while he’s alive. This was the year to do it.”
The Athletics & Recreation department first made a recommendation to name the field after Mazzaferro. After that, Clark advanced the recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Both Verria and Dr. Lamb made a presentation at a trustee meeting, and its members voted unanimously for the change.