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Golden Nuggets: The Best Grass in Berkeley

Cal Rugby's beloved Witter Field will temporarily be replaced with turf as part of the Memorial Stadium retrofit.  After this season's final game, Clark's squad will find a temporary place to play home games until 2013 or 2014 so they can avoid playing on turf.

What many call the "best grass in Berkeley" will be torn out and replaced with artificial turf to accommodate practices for football and lacrosse.

"Playing on artificial turf beats the hell out of you," said Clark. "Even the newest generations of turf are not appropriate for rugby."

Watching the field that you built being paved over is tough. Not being able to play at home is worse.

"It wasn't too long ago when I was flying around the states, standing on a chair in a crowded room saying 'I need you all to throw in some money behind Witter Rugby Field," Clark said. "Now, I'm in the awkward position of having to call back and say that we're putting artificial turf in the middle. These are difficult calls to make."

The group of donors began funding the construction of Witter. A grass field, a scoreboard and eventually the Doc Hudson Fieldhouse, formerly the bathroom outside of Memorial Stadium, were installed. The Fieldhouse now holds offices for all the rugby coaches and serves as the home for the team's rich history.

"(During football games) it was such a nasty place that you'd go and pee out back," said Clark. "Now we have 100 years worth of rugby memorabilia and Olympic memorabilia in here."

For Clark, Biestman and the other rugby donors, there is an understanding that the University must honor.

"We're all supporters of the Memorial Stadium retrofit," says Biestman "But what needs to happen is some type of commitment on behalf of the University to restore Witter Rugby Field to its original condition."

For now, the University is intent on honoring that commitment. 

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