JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 26, 2010) - The East Tennessee State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics held a special ceremony Tuesday evening at the Buccaneer Softball Stadium to announce the naming rights of Betty Basler Field.
On a picituresque fall evening, ETSU staff, Buccaneer Athletic Scholarship Association (BASA) members, community leaders, and the softball team joined to honor the Basler family with the naming of the softball field. ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletic Dave Mullins provided Wayne Basler with a special gift to show his token of appreciation for the valuable contribution to the Softball Stadium.
"Today is a very special day for the ETSU softball program and the Basler family, because it is only appropriate we name this field after Betty Basler," said Mullins. "Wayne has meant so much to our capital campaign project since day one, and we are honored to dedicate this beautiful field to his wife Betty. Without his support, we would not be where we are today with the building our new athletic facilities."
In addition to Mullins, ETSU President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr., Chief Operating Officer Dr. Wilsie Bishop, Head ETSU Softball Coach Brad Irwin, and senior captain Katie Henderson each expressed their appreciation to the Basler family during the ceremony.
"On behalf of the team, we are very privileged and honored to play softball in such an exceptional stadium," Henderson said. "We want to thank Mr. Basler and his family for this valuable contribution."
The ETSU Softball Stadium at Betty Basler Field is the third venue to be completed in the ETSU capital campaign for athletic facilities. It joins the Warren-Greene Golf Center and Summers-Taylor Stadium. Meanwhile, the fourth facility in the campaign - the new baseball stadium - located at the intersection of University Parkway and State of Franklin Road is in the initial stages of being built.
For more information on Buccaneer athletics and the capital campaign, visit www.ETSUBucs.com.
More on the Basler Family:
Wayne Basler's name is one of the most familiar on the campus of East Tennessee State University. A Kingsport entrepreneur and longtime generous contributor to East Tennessee State University, Mr. Basler was the first person to make a gift to the Department of Athletics "Pathway to Excellence" facilities campaign as part of the ETSU Reaching Higher Capital Campaign. Mr. Basler has long advocated the value of athletics as a vital part of the educational process of young people, having been a collegiate track and field athlete at Iowa State University.
Wayne and Betty Lawrence Basler, believed very strongly in providing athletic opportunities for young women because of her interest and participation in sports during an era when females did not have the chance to participate as they have today. In Wayne's words, "Betty was the most talented athlete I have ever known back in the day when it was almost impossible for females to participate in athletics. She played everything the YWCA had to offer…but she did have an opportunity to play fast pitch softball much like it is today."
Betty was born October 9, 1930, on a farm in Eastern Iowa and grew up in Cedar Rapids. She was the leadoff batter and catcher for the Quaker Oat Company's women's softball team that was the winner of the Iowa State Championship three years in a row. Wayne proudly states, "Nobody could steal second base on her but she stole a lot of bases and scored a lot of runs. It is too bad she did not have the opportunity open to women today."
As a child of two teachers, Wayne learned early the value of education and has continually enriched the educational experience of ETSU students. On campus you'll find the Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric, and Science, the AFG Industries Chair of Excellence in the College of Business and Technology, the Basler Challenge Course and the Center for Physical Activity, in addition, to an incentive scholarship program for technology students.
The former director and president of AFG Industries, Inc., Wayne is a true philanthropist, loyal to ETSU, and generous with his time and resources.