|Friday (and Saturday) Night Lights for Centre baseball, soccer teams
RELEASED: May 5, 2005
DANVILLE, KYThanks to special contributions from alumni and friends, the Centre College baseball and soccer teams will soon be playing under new outdoor lighting.
"Both of these projects are made possible by alumni and friends of the college who had a special interest in the lighting projects," says Brian Chafin, athletic director at Centre. " This allows for major improvements to the athletic facilities without spending any of the college's funds. Centre will now be able to have athletic competition outside the academic day. In the past, both the baseball and soccer teams had to miss class time for some home contests. This shouldn't happen any more."
Gary Wright '64, a four-year starter for the Centre baseball team, (in addition to playing basketball), made the gift to install lights on the baseball field.
"I always felt good about playing at Centre," Wright says. "We didn't have the facilities back then that many programs do now. I always said if I had the opportunity to give back, I would help improve the facilities. Lights on the baseball field seemed like the best thing for the team right now, and I'm pleased that I could give back to a program that I love."
"Gary Wright wanted to do something special for the baseball program," Chafin says. "I gave him several options and he picked the ultimate by lighting the field. In doing so, he'll also enable Centre to light the practice football field, which will benefit football practice in the late fall when the time changes. The lights will also give us added opportunity for nighttime intramurals if the College chooses to organize them."
Centre will be one of the only baseball programs in the SCAC to have lights. This luxury will allow the players to miss fewer classes for home baseball games and practice later in both the late fall and early spring.
"This gracious donation will not only help the baseball program, but also the school in general," head baseball coach Mike Pritchard says. "I think it will make for a great atmosphere to play in. We can now provide the campus with baseball excitement that everyone can attend."
Pritchard has already started to schedule night games for the 2006 season.
Centre's men's and women's soccer teams will also soon enjoy new lighting made possible through special gifts from a group of alumni and friends.
"I was thrilled to see how quickly this group came forward to support this project," says Jeb Burch, men's soccer coach. "Not only does each donor believe in Centre College, but they understand the long-term effects of supporting the light project for the Centre Soccer Complex."
Donors who made this project possible were Sam '96, Barbara, Chip, and Elizabeth Hayward '99; Jonathan '90 and Susan Salyer; J. Miles Barkley '82; Todd '96 and Megan '97 Walz; Jay '96 and Laura Hoffman; Jeb '94 and Kellye Burch; Brian E. Chafin; and the families of current Centre players, Mike and Sally Judah, and Sam and Mary Michael Corbett.
"We resolve two very important issues with these donations," Burch says. "First and foremost, it's important that student-athletes not miss class to play home soccer games, which is something that both the men's and women's teams [currently] do each fall. In addition, the lights also create a more intense atmosphere for our players. I know that both the men's and women's teams prefer night games and their excitement is evident when you speak to them. I strongly believe that our student body will come out in increased numbers to support our teams. Evening games will provide an exciting option for our student body on a Friday or Saturday night."
The soccer lights are scheduled for installation in early summers and will be in place in time for the 2005 fall season.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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