By Tatyanna Carman and Dylan Manfre
The Michael P. Brady Track Operations Building and Pavilion was unveiled at a dedication ceremony on Oct. 12 at the Michael P. Brady Track.
According to Associate Director of Development for Rider Athletics Matthew Mastrianni, the track operations building and pavilion was named in honor of Coach Michael Brady ‘76. He was appointed head coach of the track team in 1980 and “led the Broncs to Eastern prominence in both cross-country and track within five short years.” He was also inducted into the Rider Athletics Hall of Fame, according to President Gregory Dell’Omo.
“His cross country teams captured five consecutive New Jersey collegiate championships and two straight East Coast Conference (ECC) titles,” Mastrianni said. “Brady also guided the Broncs to three indoor and four outdoor ECC track and field championships. Rider captured the ECC indoor and outdoor crowns in each of his last two years, and the Broncs won their final 64 indoor dual meets. Brady’s squads compiled a 121-37 record in cross country, a 71-2 mark in indoor track and a 61-4 record in outdoor track.”
The ceremony was filled with alumni, current track and field student-athletes and faculty. A donation was required to attend the ceremony. An estimated 300 people attended the event, according to current cross-country and track and field Head Coach Bob Hamer.
Hamer said when the athletes come to practice each day, he wants them to understand Brady’s legacy.
“He demanded excellence. He demanded excellence from himself, his athletes and his expectation was we’re going to do the best we can, to be the best we can be all the time. We want to put forth a wonderful effort that would make coach Brady proud because that’s something he always wanted from his athletes.”
Hamer gave an introduction to the dedication ceremony and explained what the structure will add to the track, which he said is a place to help house announcers, timers and a reception area for alumni among other functions. He also thanked the donors and the faculty involved in the creation of the building.
“Your love and admiration and support of Mike Brady has got us to this point and time,” Hamer said. “Then you reached into your wallets and with your own generosity to pour and help fund not only the naming of the track, but then in turn we took that money and put it to what we thought would be something that would be a great asset and resource to our university and our track and field team and we built this wonderful building.”
Dell’Omo also spoke at the ceremony. The president also gave a gift to Brady’s wife and widow, Anita Regan ‘76. He handed her a picture of Rider track and field athletes posing in front of the building. Regan reflected on her husband’s contributions to and accomplishments at Rider and shed light on how the building was comprised.
“[The alumni] had a vision of the track being named in honor of Mike and to endow a scholarship because they knew how important education was to him. Both of them along with a group of alums, who call themselves the founders club, began fundraising and outreach in the summer of 2017.”
After the project gained momentum, Regan said that the group of alumni told Brady personally about it in September 2017. At that point they had raised $100,000.
“It speaks volumes about our donors’ admiration and appreciation for coach Brady that more than 225 of Mike’s alumni, coaches, staff, family and friends were able to come together as a team so quickly, to fund this facility and to create the Michael P. ‘76 and Anita Regan ‘76, ‘86 Brady Endowed Scholarship for track and field student-athletes,” said Mastrianni.
Rider University Athletic Director Don Harnum said it was “hard to believe [the project] came together this fast.” Harnum also said that he did not know how much the building and pavilion cost.
“It didn’t seem like that long ago, the whole concept was born,” Harnum said. “To see an actual building come together in less than two years, it’s pretty impressive. It took a lot of work from a lot of people.”
When asked how Mike Brady would feel about the ceremony if he were alive today, Regan said, “He would be so honored to know so many people worked so hard, and donated so much to make this happen. To have his name on a building, on this track, words can’t even express what it would have meant to him.”