Million In Anonymous Gifts Launch Project To Transform U.Va. Baseball
25, 2001-- The University of Virginia Department
of Athletics has received $2 million in gifts to launch a $4 million
construction project that will transform the Universitys baseball
announcement comes a week after an anonymous donor pledged $20 million
-- the second-largest single gift ever made to U.Va.s athletics
department -- to allow the University to proceed with planning a
new basketball arena. It also comes shortly after the University
of Virginias Board of Visitors affirmed its commitment to
maintain and improve the competitiveness of U.Va.s intercollegiate
gifts announced today, from anonymous donors interested in the future
of U.Va. baseball, are designated to create "one of the best places
to watch and play baseball in the Atlantic Coast Conference," said
Dennis Womack, U.Va.s head baseball coach. Pending state approval,
the University plans to break ground later this summer and complete
the first phase of the project by the beginning of the 2002 baseball
sends a very positive message to our recruits," Womack said. "If
youre looking for a great facility, a great conference and
a great education, U.Va. is the place to be. The stadium project
indicates a commitment to baseball that will encourage more high-profile
players in Virginia to remain in-state."
planned over time will include a canopied grandstand with 2,000
chair-back seats, replacing 1,500 metal bleacher seats; six to eight
skyboxes for lease by fans and corporate sponsors; stadium lights;
dugouts for home and visiting teams; an on-site locker room and
clubhouse; a digital scoreboard; a new press box; and concession
area. The first phase will include the new seats, dugouts, lights
and concession area.
new ballpark will enable U.Va. to schedule games against nationally
prominent teams that previously would have been played on the road.
"This will increase the opportunity for television game coverage,"
said Craig Littlepage, interim athletic director. "Adding stadium
lighting will allow our team to play or practice at night and thus
miss fewer classes. In addition, the facility will become a community
asset, offering a potential venue for high school tournaments and
hope the success of this fundraising effort for the new baseball
facility, led by loyal alumni and friends, will become a model for
addressing future needs of other Olympic sport programs," Littlepage
said. "We are grateful for the leadership of these generous donors."
of University of Virginia Baseball
is one of the oldest athletic programs at the University. The first
team posted a 7-0 season in 1889, when it played at what is now
Madison Bowl. The current ballpark opened in 1970 alongside Lannigan
Field, the Universitys track-and-field facility across from
Virginia baseball team had its most successful season in 1996. That
year, the Cavaliers won a school-record 44 games, captured the Atlantic
Coast Conference tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA
South I Region championship game.
season Womack's 21st as head coach the Cavaliers went
25-31, with the highlight a 5-0 defeat of then-No. 3 University
of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. Womacks 540 career victories
are the most in school history.
1966, 50 former Cavaliers have been selected in the Major League
Baseball draft, including two this year, Hunter Wyant (Florida Marlins)
and Jon Benick (San Diego Padres). Twenty-one former Cavaliers have
advanced to the major leagues. Brian Buchanan, a first-round draft
pick by the New York Yankees in 1994, currently is listed on the
Minnesota Twins roster.
the most outstanding player in U.Va. history was Eppa Rixey, the
only player from the current ACC schools enshrined in the Baseball
Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Rixey, a left-handed pitcher,
won 266 games for the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds
in a 21-year major-league career that concluded in 1933.
seven-year, $1.43 billion Campaign for the University of Virginia,
which ended in December 2000, raised $117.7 million for the Department
of Athletics. Of this amount, approximately $50 million in gifts
to the department allowed the University to expand the football
stadium at Carl Smith Center, home of David A. Harrison III Field
at Scott Stadium.
gifts to the Virginia Student Aid Foundation (VSAF) for athletics
scholarships increased from $4 million to $7.5 million during the
campaign. In addition, the VSAF increased its scholarship endowment
to $33 million. VSAF funded approximately 284 scholarships during
the most recent academic year.
Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189