Sometimes all it takes for an organization to achieve greatness is the perfect facility. The University of Evansville’s baseball team experienced success in 2014 but lacked the right space for consistent results.
The Purple Aces won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship in the 2014 season and saw a top 10 selection in the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft in Kyle Freeland. It was the perfect time to “strike while the iron was hot,” says Head Coach Wes Carroll.
Located in Arad McCutchan Stadium, the university’s soccer facility, which sits next to Charles H. Braun Stadium, the baseball field, the university broke ground on the $55,000 new locker room in October 2014 after a four-month fundraising campaign. The previous locker room was demolished and rebuilt from scratch by adding custom-made double-sided oak lockers as well as new flooring, tiling, showers, and lights.
Completed in January, the new facility also contains statistics, a list of past All-Americans, and eye-catching graphics that highlight the program’s history. The lockers, which Carroll compares to those in a Major League Baseball locker room, are three times larger than the original versions, a necessity because of the amount of gear baseball players use.
“The new lockers keep everything off the floor,” says Carroll, who completed his seventh year as head coach this past season. “The players have access to a brand new shower to use in between classes, workouts, and practices.”
Carroll says the new space allows the program to compete with other schools in the best conferences across the country. The main goal is focusing on the student-athletes by providing premium facilities, which already is producing results. The past two recruiting classes, on paper, are among the best the program has ever signed.
“You always need to have a crane on campus to show you’re moving forward,” says Carroll. “This is step one. We have a lot of other things planned for the future.”
“This is a cornerstone for us to build on,” adds Director of Athletics Mark Spencer. “We won a championship in 2014 and that is something to be very proud of. We are looking forward to having many, many of those. It is with these kinds of facilities and these kinds of gifts that really help us take the next step forward. Everyone wants to have the best pieces out there and having something like this is a great foundation to build on.”
For more information about UE’s baseball program, visit gopurpleaces.com.