The Sports: Football | Soccer | Lacrosse
The Facility: Ritchie Field has been the home of the Mariners since intercollegiate play began at the Academy back in the 1940s. It was a grass, dust and mud surface until 1993 when a $600,000 gift from Waterville philanthropist Harold Alfond covered the expense necessary for the installation of a KonyTurf 9009 system. The old, carpet-style turf was the first of its kind in northern New England. In 2005, the field was upgraded to the current 125-by-80 yard polypropylene fiber and rubber infill system. Elm trees toppled onto the grandstands and press box at Ritchie Field during a 2007 microburst, prompting a replacement of the structure. In 2012, the beautiful, six-foot perimeter fence was completed, and in the summer of 2018, the turf surface was replaced by SprintTurf. With glimpses of Oakum Bay from the grandstands and sweeping views of the Penobscot Bay from atop of the press box, Ritchie Field is one of the most beautiful settings in Division III athletics.
The Namesake: Ritchie Field is named in honor of Lieutenant Donald Ernest Ritchie ’43, U.S.N.R., a member of Maine Maritime’s first graduating class. Ritchie was assigned to the U.S.S. Napa (APA-157), a 455-foot Haskell Class attack transport displacing 14,800 tons. Ritchie gave his life in the service of his country in action at Iwo Jima on March 14, 1945. The original plaque honoring Ritchie was removed from the field in the wake of the 2007 microburst. On September 21, 2013, the plaque was affixed to granite harvested from Maine’s coast, and rededicated as part of that day’s Homecoming and Admiral’s Cup festivities.