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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

Shock the World Campaign
Fundraising for Eck Stadium project nears goal


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 Construction can begin this year if funds are pledged by July 1

If the fundraising campaign to complete a five-phase development plan for Eck Stadium were likened to a baseball game, Wichita State would be in the ninth inning with three players on base.

“We need just a few more generous donations to hit a grand slam on this project,” says Brent Kemnitz, the Shocker’s former pitching coach who now works within the WSU Athletics development office. “We’re that close. Once the funds are fully committed, construction can begin almost immediately.”

WSU Athletics has partnered with the WSU Foundation to raise $2 million to put the finishing touches on a long-term project to create one of college baseball’s most visually striking and functionally excellent venues. The endeavor, which began more than 40 years ago, was broken into five phases. This fifth and final stage has two parts, with funds now being raised for the second half.

Kemnitz, who coached the Shockers from 1978 to 2016, has seen the project unfold over four decades.

“It’s pretty uplifting to witness the commitment of Shocker fans and alumni to see this through,” he says. “As a coach, I was able to watch as the stadium grew into this amazing facility we have today. We have an ambitious plan, and we’re very close to achieving it.”

So far, donors have pledged about $1.55 million to the $2 million campaign, with another $250,000 in verbal commitments. Kemnitz and Alex Johnson, director of development for WSU Athletics, have launched a drive asking former players, alumni and fans to make a $10,000 donation that will give them naming rights to one of the 40 lockers in the new Performance Facility. They hope to see each locker bearing the name of a former player, with either that player making the gift or another donor honoring a player with the gift.

“We think it’s a neat way to recognize some of the people who helped write the history of Shocker baseball, in a new facility that’s going to be utilized for many years to come,” Kemnitz says.

The 10,000-square-foot Performance Facility is the centerpiece of this last phase. It will feature a new strength-and-conditioning center for student-athletes in softball, golf and tennis, too. Currently, baseball and softball student-athletes must visit Charles Koch Arena when they want to work out with cardio equipment and weights, or receive whirlpool and physical therapy services. This not only disrupts their training and practices, but also overloads the capabilities of the Koch Arena facility.

Besides a baseball locker room, the Performance Facility also will house a media room for viewing game videos, player lounge area and offices for coaches and staff. It will provide access to and from the Bombardier Learjet Indoor Practice Facility, as well as to the Shocker dugout on Tyler Field. As part of the project, the Shocker dugout will be moved from the first-base side to the third-base side. It will be enlarged and recessed to enhance safety. Finally, the baseball program’s ticket office will be enlarged and remodeled.

For more information

If you would like to learn more about supporting the Eck Stadium-Home of Tyler Field project, contact Brent Kemnitz at 316-978-5302 or bkemnitz@goshockers.com.

Angela Dudley