Coastal Has Official Groundbreaking Ceremony for Baseball-Softball Complex
March 12, 2013
President Dr. David DeCenzo
"We were fortunate enough to make this a reality. As I was looking at a quote to really pinpoint what we're doing today I ran into a quote from Tug McGraw pitching for the New York Mets back in 1973 when they were in sixth place and they really thought they were going to win the pennant that year. Tug McGraw created a motto for the New York Mets when he said you've gotta believe. Well, ladies and gentlemen, you've gotta believe, but not only because you have been believing, you've gotta believe that the reality is about to descend upon us. I'm so pleased to be able to have a number of people on that platform today that want to talk a little bit about what baseball and softball mean to this university, what it has meant to us for so many years and the great things that have come from it, but more importantly what these two teams have provided for our university and what they've provided for our community. It's an exciting day and nothing is going to make us happier than to see these buildings coming out of the ground. If you've had a chance to look at the schematic diagrams, this is going to be an absolutely wonderful complex. These are going to be stadiums that will be the rivals of any university. I know that as Coach Gilmore and others traveled around they were trying to find that thing that was going to make it unique for us and I believe what you will find is that this is going to significantly add to this institution."
Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek
"This is truly an exciting and long-awaited day for so many coaches, student-athletes, alumni and fans. I would be remiss today if I did not mention our head baseball coach Gary Gilmore. It is through his vision for our baseball program that began when he first took the field as a student-athlete in early 1980's and has moved ever closer to reality over the course of his 18 years as head coach at his alma mater that we are standing here today. Six months into my tenure as director of athletics I watched our baseball team compete on the national stage as we hosted a Super Regional against South Carolina at then BB&T Coastal Field. As I watched our team compete inning after inning with the eventual national champions, I was sold on coach Gilmore's vision and remarkable success. We needed an on-campus stadium that was a true reflection of our baseball program and one that could host such events in the future. Additionally, I could see our softball program's growth and certain return to prominence under our young head coach Kelley Green and it was obvious that a new softball stadium would also support her vision and goals for the softball program.
"For the student-athletes in our baseball and softball programs whose positive experience is at the core of every decision that we make, these new venues will provide facilities that will allow each of them to train and compete at the highest level and continue the tradition of success that has earned these programs a combined 40 Big South Conference Championships. In athletics we often speak of the need for our facilities to have a `wow' factor for prospective student-athletes and their families during the recruiting process. Along with the Boni Belle Hitting and Practice Facility, the new baseball and softball complex will indeed have this `wow' factor and will keep Coastal competitive with the nation's elite programs and provide a first-class experience for our fans."
Head Softball Coach Kelley Green
"When I first took over this program four years ago I had a vision of not only competing in the Big South Conference and also nationally and that reality is coming true right now with this facility. This facility is going to help our current athletes have that greater sense of pride playing on their homefield and that homefield advantage that we will have and now we can go against any school in the country getting recruits here. We had the location, now we have the facility to be able to do that. It's just a great opportunity for our program and it really shows the commitment level of Coastal Carolina University to their athletic programs. I feel very fortunate, our student-athletes feel very fortunate about everything that's going on here at Coastal Carolina and we really look forward to the future of the program and the new heights that both baseball and softball are going to be able to get to because of all the support that we get here."
Head Baseball Coach Gary Gilmore
"I do not have a prepared speech, but seeing those shovels and all these people we can speed this process up if we can get some more shovels. I want to see some people out here working a little bit. Let's get after this thing.
"Having been a student here, the experience I had at this campus, there's no amount of money that could have bought me out of here. I love this place. The people are what make Coastal so special. I've befriended so many people in my years here, it's unbelievable.
"You all gave me a chance to be a player here, gave me a chance to be a coach here and the love in my heart I've had for this school I've poured out through our players and our success here on the field. I'm just giving back what was given to me when I played here and went to school here.
"I want to thank Dr. DeCenzo, Dr. Dyer, Will Garland, our Board of Trustees, Tami Brooks, without you we couldn't have this. You and I talked and I told you the one thing you could do by doing this is to make a difference at Coastal Carolina forever and all time, not just for baseball, but for all the students, all the people in our community. When this thing is finally done it's going to be one of the nicest stadium and hitting facilities in the entire country.
"I've had great staff guys to work that have done so many things and it's the players that make our success. All we do is lead them down the path. We've had wonderful players that bought into what we're doing here and have worked so hard. They love what they do, they love this place and want to play here and win championships for you all. Now, we want to bless them and thank the good Lord for the blessings He has given us in having the opportunity to do this. I thank you that you've allowed my passion and dream to be put on a piece of paper and now we're going to take that piece of paper and we're going to build something that's going to take Coastal Carolina to Omaha. We're going to get this done.
"I can't thank Dr. DeCenzo enough for the opportunity he gave me. He believed in me and believed in what this program could do. I've walked away from an opportunity or two in my lifetime, but outside of my wife and my kids those were the best decisions I ever made in my life because I did it for the right reasons. I did it from my heart, way moreso than anything else. I want to be a Chanticleer forever, I want to walk out of this place one day knowing I took one or more teams to Omaha.
"Thank you so much, I'm kind of overwhelmed. I've waited a long time. I've said it many times, our program turned around when Baseball at the Beach became a reality. There so many of you out there that have meant so much in my life, but also in the success and change in this baseball program from a very, very good program and great tradition to a national contender. Thank you very much and let's start digging holes and laying cinder block."