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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 10, 2007) - The East Tennessee State Department of Athletics celebrated a historic day for its softball program, as the Buccaneers announced the ground breaking for a new softball stadium Monday morning.
"Today marks an exciting day for ETSU athletics and the Buccaneer softball program," said ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins. "The building of this stadium helps us continue with our "Pathway to Excellence," which is designed to change the face of ETSU and the future of Buccaneer athletics."
After playing on a city-owned field for the past eight seasons (including the upcoming campaign), the ETSU softball program will finally have a place it can call home come the spring of 2009. The state-of-the-art facility will be built right behind the Kroger shopping center, and will be one of the most attractive athletic facilities in the region as it overlooks the ETSU campus with a mountain background.
"This is a very special time for ETSU athletics," added Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator Barbie Breedlove. "I have been looking forward to this day for a long time, and having a state-of-the-art facility is so rewarding to not only our athletics program but the community as well."
A top-notch stadium is exactly what the Buccaneer softball program will receive. The facility will feature: TV-quality lighting, 500 seats (with 150 of them being chair back), press box amenities for media and game operations, gated entry concourse, bathrooms, and concessions, state-of-the-art scoreboard, dugouts (with attached storage and easy access to bullpens), a playing surface with complete drainage and irrigation systems, and a practice infield.
"I feel honored to be part of ETSU history not only as a player but as a coach as well," mentioned head ETSU softball coach Andrea Mangrum, who played on the inaugural Buccaneer squad in 2001. "Each day I stress to my players that family is very important and they are apart of a special Buccaneer family here. Not only will this new stadium help as a huge recruiting tool, but it is a place where my team can call home."
Despite not being able to play in the new stadium in 2009, the current members of the senior class know they helped contribute in making this project happen.
"We work hard day in and day out as student-athletes and this stadium is a reward for those who have worn the ETSU uniform." added senior Amanda Haverman.
It was a festive morning at the future home of Buccaneer softball, as a contingent of supporters joined the special event. Those in attendance were the ETSU softball team, members of the
This new stadium design is being supported by contributors such as: General Shale Brick, C&T Construction, Beeson Lusk and Street, Joe Grandy, Gerald Thomas and Wayne Basler.
"When you have great leaders like Dave (Mullins) and Barbie (Breedlove) it shows as we have strong student-athletes and support here at ETSU," said university president Dr. Paul E. Stanton, Jr. "We are coming off our best athletic season, and now we are continuing to grow as a university with the building of this major athletic complex."
The "Pathway to Excellence Athletic Campaign" calls for new athletic facilities for all of ETSU's 16 varsity sports, and is part of the total university's "Reaching Higher" capital campaign of over $200 million. The path is all ready being placed with the addition of the on-campus Summers-Taylor soccer complex, now the softball ground-breaking, and pans are underway for a new baseball stadium, outdoor track, tennis facility and basketball arena.
For more on the "Pathway to Excellence Athletic Campaign," visit ETSUBucs.com or click on the link above.