Slavin Field has combo of history and newer features

The football team walked off Ted Slavin field after the game Friday with a strange bounce in their step. It wasn’t because they were winning, but because of the millions of pieces of rubber beneath their feet.

The field has been the home of Harvard-Westlake athletics for 88 years, and has played host to many games and teams. Slavin donated the scoreboard after his son (Jarrett Slaven ’03) graduated.

“I felt Harvard-Westlake was the greatest place for education there was, and I wanted to have my name linked to something here,” Ted Slavin, the primary donor for the field, said Friday. “Tom [Hudnut] and I had lunch and he said ‘I have the perfect place…it’s the field…Ted Slavin Field.’ And I just thought it was great.”

Slavin was present for the field’s first use under the lights.

“I haven’t been here an extended period of time, but obviously putting in the field turf was a huge boost to the field because it allowed the field to be in good standing and good shape year round,” Athletic Director of Communications Terry Barnum said. “It lessened the amount of maintenance and upkeep that we have to do for the field, and it’s just better overall for the kids.”

The field has played a key part in the athletic history of the school. Several marquee games have taken place on the ground adjacent to Taper Gym. The field served as the home of the 2002 girls’ soccer team and last year’s upset of Loyola by the varsity boys’ soccer team.

“Another great memory of mine is that the field was the birthplace of our lacrosse team, which helped it move from a fringe club status to a full varsity program,” Athletic Director Audrius Barzdukas said.

Since its creation, Slavin Field has undergone several changes, including the addition lights, field turf, bleachers and a track.

“One of the advantages of field turf is that after rain, the old field would get torn up and baked to a concrete consistency, and you couldn’t do anything about it until the end of the year when you reseeded it,” Barzdukas said. “I think the even surface of the field allows better players to showcase their skills more.”

Barzdukas also said he thinks that the track is one of the fastest surfaces in Southern California.

“I would say it’s incredible to have access to a field like that for playoff games,” Barzdukas said. “The other time that I see it as being an incredible advantage is that the field is not only a wonderful place to compete, but also during the raining season because I recall many times when that field was frankly not usable and practices and games were cancelled.”

“As a school, we are committed to offering our kids the best, one of the ways it manifests itself is the field,” Barzdukas said. “People want to play here, work here and go to school here.”