Renovated Sports and Recreation Center Dedicated to Influential Former Coach


Bob and Ann Naslund embrace while President Jenifer K. Ward unveils their names on the wall of the SRC. Photo by Verena Mueller-Baltes

After months of renovation, the new Robert and Ann Naslund Sports and Recreation Center (SRC) reopened its doors on December 1, 2022. Almost five months later, on Saturday, April 29, 2023, the official dedication ceremony was held in the SRC at 10 a.m.

The event began with an opening prayer. Then, students Emily Rubbelke (‘23) and Kylie Dunning (‘23) gave brief speeches, followed by an acknowledgement of the numerous efforts that went into this project from Director of Athletics Renae Hartl.

One such driving factor was  Senior Director of Development at Luther, Nathan Ersig (‘98). Ersig spoke about the role he played in fundraising for the renovations. 

“Our office, the Development Office, supported the Athletic Department in fundraising for the project,” Ersig said. “The renovation was one hundred percent donor-funded, at no cost to the college, and was in all about a 1.2 million dollar project.”

The 1.2 million dollars spent on the renovation were spent on redoing the track surface, lighting, mechanicals, and painting. Ersig’s office was also key in collecting big name donors that would then help rename the SRC. 

Robert “Bob” Naslund (‘65), whose name is now displayed on the front wall, witnessed a vastly different SRC and sports facilities  during his time as a student and coach. Naslund spent his years as a coach for football, track and field, as well as an assistant wrestling coach. He was employed at Luther for 42 years. Throughout that time, Naslund worked to prompt the inclusion of women in athletics. Naslund spoke about how the SRC has become more accessible to all athletes. 


“The SRC today is probably the most used facility [within athletics],” Naslund explained, “It has become safer, more attractive, and versatile for both men and women.”

Naslund prided Luther on being one of the first colleges in the region to establish Women’s Sports programs in 1965. He also made sure that his wife, Ann Naslund, was recognized in the naming. Ann Naslund (‘66), a kindergarten teacher for 36 years, was essential to her husband’s coaching success. Naslund elaborated on the importance of spousal support in athletics. 

 “Too often, spouses of coaches get overlooked,” Naslund said. “She’s been a wonderful supporter.” 

After another prayer, the official unveiling, led by President  Jenifer K. Ward, Robert and Ann Naslund, as well as Associate Athletic Director Adam Carpenter, took place. Bob Naslund led the crowd in the Luther Chant following the prayer to close out the ceremony.