NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Trevecca Nazarene University’s 2013 baseball team will be the first Trojan team to play under the lights on its home field since the start of the baseball program in 1971. Trevecca athletic director Mark Elliott announced that contracts have been signed for lights to be installed at Jackson Field this winter. The team will play several games under the lights in the spring of 2013.
TNU Trojans - Lights Announcement Video
The University has planned a special night of celebration and recognition for Friday, April 19, at Jackson Field, when the Trojans host Urbana University in a G-MAC double-header. That celebration will include special recognition of persons who have played significant roles in the history of Trevecca baseball. The University invites alumni of the baseball program—both players and coaches—and supporters of this program throughout its 43-year history of the program to attend this special night.
The campaign to raise funds for lights was most recently reinvigorated during the tenure of former Trevecca coach Chris Collins. Harold McCue, the former Trevecca vice president of university advancement, Rick Underwood, Trevecca’s senior stewardship officer/director of planned giving, and members of Trevecca’s athletic supporters in the T-Club have provided leadership for that effort. If you would like to assist the baseball program in its effort to complete the funding of the new lights, go to www.trevecca.edu/Give and designate your gift for the baseball lights project.
The addition of lights to the baseball field is one change taking place at Trevecca as the University moves toward NCAA Division-ll status. In July of 2011, the NCAA accepted Trevecca’s application to begin the three-year process of moving to full membership at the NCAA Division-ll level. Part of that process was Trevecca’s move to a new conference. In December of 2011, Trevecca joined the newly formed Great Midwest Athletic Conference, and in July of this year the NCAA approved Trevecca’s move to year-two candidacy status.
Trevecca president Dan Boone envisions the lighting of the baseball field as another opportunity for people to gather on the Trevecca campus. “Lighting the baseball field enables Trevecca to accomplish three significant goals: support the academic success of our baseball players by enabling them to miss fewer day classes, provide community night life for the entire Trevecca neighborhood, and host area events for the up-and-coming baseball players of Nashville. It is a high priority for me to invite the community to help us fund this intuitive,” Boone said.
“The history behind this day is well-documented and a long time coming,” explained Mark Elliott, athletic director. “Many people who believe in this University and its athletic mission contributed to the culmination of this dream. Much credit for this accomplishment goes to President Boone, an avid supporter of athletics who earnestly wanted this endeavor to be completed. Also, the leadership of David Caldwell, executive vice president for finance and administration, for this project and the support of the entire campus is a modern-day example of Nehemiah’s restoration. Finally, Trevecca’s baseball family, both alumni and supporters, stayed dedicated to the vision that one day, Trevecca would play under the lights. If you want to know what it’s like to be a part of the Trevecca family, this is it. Oh, by the way, stay tuned, see what’s coming next!”
For Trevecca baseball coach Ryan Schmalz, lighting the field will add more to the baseball program than simply adding night baseball games on campus. "The lighted baseball field is a culmination of many things for the baseball program. It represents a huge commitment by the University to the athletics department as it transitions to the NCAA. It is also a celebration of the enormous effort made by so many people. Previous coaches, players, administrators, and supporters of Trevecca have worked to make this improvement happen. In particular, President Boone, Rick Underwood, Mark Elliott, David Caldwell, Harold McCue, and Glen Linthicum deserve a lot of recognition for this project."
Schmalz continued, "The lights allow flexibility for our program. Players get to stay in class longer, parents and fans are now able to attend night games after work hours, and the overall atmosphere of games will be greatly enhanced. A lighted field also makes Trevecca a premier venue to host high school, college, and summer baseball events."
Bill Green, Trevecca’s first baseball coach, was ecstatic when he heard the news: “What a day! This announcement brings the baseball facility into the modern era. The lighted field opens many doors of opportunity for more fans and better opponents as well as additional opportunities to bring prospects to the campus. Now Trevecca baseball is on the same playing level or above other facilities. The Bible says some plant, some water, and some reap. All former coaches have had a hand in developing the facilities to this point, and now coach Schmalz can take it from here, and we’ll all be very proud.
The lighting system, which will have eight poles, will provide lighting levels which will exceed NCAA best-practice standards and meet those of Triple-A baseball. The lighting, with 100-foot candles on the infield and 70 in the outfield, will allow for games to be streamed live on the Internet or broadcast on television.
The University invites baseball fans and friends of Trevecca to come to the campus in 2013 to enjoy baseball games under the lights and to be part of the April 19 celebration event on Jackson Field, when Bill Green and Trevecca baseball alumni will be honored.
History of Jackson Field
The history of Jackson Field began when a female friend of Trevecca, whose name was Jackson, loaned the University $4000 to buy the land for a baseball field. Ms. Jackson stipulated that if the loan was not paid off before she died it would be a gift to the college. Therefore, when she died before the loan was paid back, the field was named Jackson Field.
Members of Trevecca’s first baseball team spent their first year picking up rocks on the field, preparing it for play. Bill Green, Trevecca’s first baseball coach, and the first team played the first season of games at the former Tennessee Preparatory School ((TPS) and at Shelby Park. Once the team began playing at Jackson Field, the team sat on wooden benches during the early years with no dugout, and the first fence was installed four years later, in 1975.
In the years following, each coaching team made improvements to the playing surface and facility. Elliot Johnson worked with David Deese, communication instructor and the then-manager of Trevecca’s radio stations, to build the current press box over the home dugout. Later the dugout was made into a walk-in dugout. Concrete bleachers from Vanderbilt were installed and Coach Johnson and his sons installed the underground sprinkler system. Johnson also purchased the first tarp to cover the field. In the Dave Altopp era a new baseball fence was built, a concrete outdoor batting cage was added to the first-base side of the field, and thehome and visiting bullpen areas were improved. Ryan Gray rebuilt the bullpens, renovated the indoor hitting facility and press box, and added stadium click effects software for game music and atmosphere. Other additions during Gray’s tenure included a new equipment shed, a flag pole beyond center field, two pitching machines, base screens, L screen, a gator, reel mower, roll-up batting practice turtle, and field tarp. Jeff Forehand worked to create a “college atmosphere” on the field and facility. Forehand and his staff created a warning track with red rock, sodded the baselines, painted bleachers, built new dugout benches, and upgraded the irrigation system. Other facility improvements included the following: the addition of a cinder-block wall behind home plate, the hanging of netting from dugout to dugout over the cinder black wall, and in order to make the field more pitcher-friendly, the moving of the outfield fence and the addition of a large net to the wall. Forehand and his crew added to the feel of the park with a deck in and around the seating area from dugout-to-dugout.
Recent coaches also added improvements, Chris Collins, who followed Forehand, oversaw the addition of shrubs, mulch, and trees; the pouring of concrete and the addition of a soft-toss area around the hitting cage down the right field line; the purchase of new nine-inning score board and its installation in right center field for easy viewing; and the addition of a flag pavilion in right center field, which flies the American, Tennessee, and Trevecca flags. Jonathan Burton carried on the momentum by completely gutting both dugouts and the press box and bringing them to modern standards, with new carpet, windows, drywall, and heat and air. Under Burton, each dugout received padded safety railings with protective netting to expand the walk around area; a concrete floor was added to this expanded area; laser work was performed on the field, and the infield was sodded; a new field turf area was added to the foul area from third base to first base and included a new Trojan head logo behind home plate; chairback seats, acquired from Warner Athletics and Southern Athletic Fields, were installed (The seats from Southern Ahtletic Fields were refurbished seats from Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.); and a new bullpen storage area was built. Mike Lord added much-needed trees along the fence line by the trucking company to improve the field’s appearance and to save a few foul balls.
Bill Green, Trevecca's First Baseball Coach, Discusses Origins of Jackson Field