We spoke with Aggie baseball head coach Rocky Ward after the University and athletic department announced a $1.4 million donation for baseball facility improvements. We got his thoughts on what the donation and facility upgrades will mean for the program and the future of New Mexico State baseball
bleedCrimson.net: An historic day not just for New Mexico State baseball but for New Mexico State in general. Mid-major schools don't often see large gifts like this.
Rocky Ward: No and in fact somebody had said maybe less than 30 in the history of the school across the board and this is only the second for athletics. It's a pretty big deal.
bc.net: Your dad has a lot of experience at two different schools and building them up and doing this kind of fundraising [Yavapai College and Oklahoma State] and so you've seen firsthand what this type of donation can do for a program.
RW: Yeah, we can kind of break it up into three areas of what it does. One, it's going to give our fans a much nicer viewing experience. It'll bring more people and more attention to Aggie baseball. That's a big benefit. It think that's not just the local people. I think it's people from out of town and out of state as well.
The second thing it does is it sends a strong message to recruits that it's a program that's growing and that is willing to invest in its facilities. I think when you go back and look at the history of college baseball programs, in almost every case when you've seen a baseball team make significant progress it's been a result of the stadium or some sort of major upgrade that has made that happen. There have been a couple of scenarios over the years where some NCAA rule changes, in particular the ability to stack academic and athletic scholarships, had a pretty significant change in some universities, in particular the higher academic institutions that relied a lot of academic scholarships for function. But the stadium is the number one thing as far as being the number one reason teams make large improvements quickly. That's the number one thing across the board. Continue Reading This Post >>