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Eastern plans to paint the town - er - field red

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IF EWU can raise enough money, they plan on installing red turf at Woodward Field as shown in this diagram (EWU Athletics) IF EWU can raise enough money, they plan on installing red turf at Woodward Field as shown in this diagram (EWU Athletics)

Diehard Eastern Washington fans might have heard the Eagles want to paint the town – or at least the football field – red.  Well, that's true.  And they have a major donor to get the process started.

Former EWU standout Michael Roos of the Tennessee Titans pledged $500,000 toward the university's "Red Turf" project, the school formally announced on Wednesday. The plan is to install a red synthetic playing surface at Woodward Field in Cheney.  The red field would be the first of its kind, not only just in Division I football, but in the entire country.

"There is no doubt that one of Boise State's claim to fame has been their blue turf and like it or dislike it, it has certainly brought them a tremendous amount of notoriety," said Bill Chaves, EWU's Athletic Director in a news release issued Wednesday. "In a similar vein we have a tremendous opportunity at Eastern to do the same by differentiating ourselves with the red turf while providing a superior playing surface."

Chaves said the school needs to collect more money from private donations to make his visions of red a reality.  His hope is to have the new turf installed before the start of the 2010 season.

Fundraising for the change got a kick-start thanks to the half-million dollars donation from Roos, who played football at EWU from 2001-04.  Roos was drafted in the second round by the Tennessee Titans in 2005 and has had a successful career in the NFL.

"I am grateful for my time at EWU," said Roos in the news release. "Not only did I meet my wife during my time at the university, but Eastern's leadership, coaches and football program paved the way for my professional success in football.  It's exciting to be able to give back."

Head football coach Beau Baldwin sees the red field as giving him an advantage in the recruiting arena.  Having a unique field, like that of Boise State, would bring more exposure to the program and create another reason for players to choose Eastern Washington over competing programs.

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