Edwin J. O'Hara Hall
O'Hara Hall, the multifaceted athletic building in
the southeast corner of the Academy, is named for Edwin J.
O'Hara. O'Hara was the second Midshipmen to receive the
Distinguished Service Medal, the Merchant Marine's highest honor,
and the first to give his life while earning it.
O'Hara, an 18-year old Californian, was assigned to the Liberty
ship Stephen Hopkins. The Stephen Hopkins was alone and traveling
westbound in the South Atlantic in September, 1942, when it
encountered two German commerce raiders. Though the Hopkins carried
only one four-inch gun and other light armament, its crew decided
to fight rather than to surrender. With his ship aflame and near
sinking and with the rest of the crew killed, O'Hara began
single-handedly loading and firing the ship's remaining shells.
Astoundingly, O'Hara scored hits on both enemy ships, sinking one
and damaging the other. When the Hopkins finally sank, O'Hara went
down with her. O'Hara's medal was presented to his mother on March
15, 1943. One year later, and a dedication day was held in the
building which would bear his name.
O'Hara Hall serves as the home arena for the men's and women's
basketball, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and
women's volleyball, and wrestling teams. Physical education classes
are also conducted in O'Hara Hall with a row of offices on the west
end of the building accommodating the physical education and
athletic department staffs. Construction in the late 1970's added a
swimming and diving facility, wrestling room, lockerrooms, and
racquetball courts. Recently, the lobby was refaced along with
necessary construction to the front of the building to aid in
O'Hara Hall's handicap accessibility.
Also located in O'Hara Hall is the Thomas J. Hughes and Robert J.
Lavinia Conference Room, donated by the two Alumni, for Physical
Education and Athletic Department meetings and conferences. Located
downstairs is the team media room, locker rooms, and equipment
room. In addition, O'Hara Hall is home to the Kings Point Athletic
Hall of Fame and the Blue and Gray Fitness Center.
On Wednesday, October 10, 1990, O'Hara Hall took on a new look
when the gymnasium was dedicated to Captain James Walter Liebertz,
Director of Athletics at Kings Point from 1950-1972. Liebertz began
his Kings Point career as head coach of the track and field team in
1945. Two months later, he became an Assistant Athletic Director,
and on January 1, 1950, Liebertz was named Director of Athletics, a
position he held for over 22 years. As the Kings Point Director of
Athletics, Liebertz was responsible for increasing the varsity
athletic program from five sports to 16 varsity teams. He fought
for and saw the split sea year program implemented and also began
the tradition of the Annual Varsity Awards Dinner.
The O'Hara Pool, which is located on the north side of Edwin
J. O'Hara Hall, is a six lane competition pool with a separate
diving well. Each lane is seven feet wide, with a the depth of
water ranging between four and seven feet. The diving well measures
a depth of 11 feet and is equipped with a one-meter and three-meter
board. The pool's temperature is kept between 79-82 degrees
Fahrenheit. A trampoline and hot tub are located on the pool deck
to assist in additional training. With the addition of the new
starting blocks, the depth of the water and the good gutter system,
the O'Hara Hall pool is one of the fastest in the conference, and
has played host to the Skyline Conference meet for seven
The pool can hold up to 350 spectators, with bleachers located
in close proximity to the swimming and diving pool, providing for
Stadium & Captain James Harvey Tomb Field
The football, soccer, and lacrosse field, set inside the
Academy's newly surfaced eight lane track, is named for the first
Superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Captain James
Harvey Tomb. His background features the successful blend of
two maritime careers; 27 years as a naval officer and 15 years as
an educator of Merchant Marine Midshipmen.
An Annapolis graduate and expert marksman, Captain Tomb had a
distinguished naval career that included command of the former
coastal liner Aroostook during the laying of the 'North Sea Mine
Barrage,' which bottled up the German fleet in World War I.
Retiring from service in 1925, he was named head of the New York
State Nautical School.
As a member of the 1930 Committee on Training of Merchant Marine
Officer Personnel, he strongly supported the need for a national
shoreside training facility. In 1939, when the U.S. Merchant
Marine Cadet Corps was searching for an Atlantic Coast location, he
allowed the cadets to stay temporarily at his New York Merchant
Marine Academy at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx.
His experience as a marine educator and administrator made
Capt. Tomb the Academy's choice as the first Superintendent in
1942. Arriving at Kings Point by boat from Fort Schuyler on April
15, 1942 at the age of 66, he immediately tackled the crucial task
of overseeing the physical construction of the Academy. He
relinquished command of the Academy on October 16, 1943, just over
two weeks after the school was dedicated. He retired to private
life and died on September 23, 1946.
In the summer of 2000, Tomb Field received a "face-lift" with the
installation of FieldTurf's state-of-the-art synthetic system.
While most turf systems are simply a carpet with an underpadding,
FieldTurf is a synthetic turf designed to create an artificial
surface that duplicates the conditions of real grass. This surface
looks like grass, feels like grass, and plays like grass. The turf
is nonabrasive and allows athletes to slide, pivot, and twist their
cleats in the surface.
Lower Roosevelt Fields
To the south of Tomb Field stands Upper and Lower Roosevelt
Fields. The two fields honor Presidents Theodore and Franklin D.
Roosevelt. Upper Roosevelt is used as a practice field for football
and lacrosse. Lower Roosevelt is the area that contains the
practice soccer field and the Mariners’ baseball
Adjacent to Upper and Lower Roosevelt Fields stands Brooks Field
House. The Field House contains a fully-equipped athletic training
facility and the football and baseball lockerrooms.
Officially, Brooks Field House was dedicated on May 1, 1996
before nearly 125 Kings Pointers. Jack Brooks '44 made possible the
full interior renovation of the Field House through an endowment
gift to the Athletic Association. Brooks, a native of San
Francisco, graduated from the San Mateo, CA Cadet School, a
pre-Academy training facility, in 1944 prior to going to sea. He
currently is a successful marine engineer, real estate developer,
lawyer, and part owner of the NFL's Oakland Raiders.
Sporting over 8,600 pounds of free weights, the USMMA weight
rooms are an inseparable part of the athletics program. Renovated
in the spring of 1994, it houses 11 power racks and a complete
Nautilus Fitness Complex. Complementing the weight room is
the Blue and Gray Fitness Center overlooking Liebertz Gymnasium.
The fitness center features life-cycles, stairmasters, a Nordic
Trak, and rowing machines.
The main athletic training room is
housed in O'Hara Hall, home of the Mariners' athletic programs. The
athletic training room is dedicated to the prevention, care, and
rehabilitation of the USMMA's intercollegiate
student-athletes. This athletic training room supports the
football, men's and women's basketball, swimming and diving, track
and field, softball, lacrosse, softball, volleyball, tennis, and
wrestling teams. Equipment is state of
the art and is continually upgraded to stay abreast of the rapidly
changing field of sports medicine. This facility has
separate treatment, hydrotherapy, rehabilitation, and taping areas.
The treatment area is equipped with two electrotherapy
units, two ultrasound units, cryo-compresion unit and a
hydrocollator. Two whirlpools and an ice machine are located in the
hydrotherapy room. The rehabilitation area consists of stationary
bikes, an UBE, Swiss exercise balls, a shuttle system, and lower
extremity range of motion.
Pre- and post-game treatments, as
well as pre-game taping, are performed here. All physical therapy
for these teams are done here and all post-operative rehabilitation
is done in this athletic training room.
The Brooks field house athletic
training room is the satellite facility for men's soccer and
baseball teams. This facility has separate treatment, hydrotherapy,
rehabilitation, and taping areas. The treatment area is equipped
with an electrotherapy unit, two ultrasound units, compression
unit and a hydrocollator. Two whirlpools and an ice machine are
located in the hydrotherapy room. Pre- and post-game treatments, as
well as pre-game taping, are performed here. All post operative
rehabilitation is done in the O'Hara athletic training room.