SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Ron and Alexis Fowler were recognized for their generous gift to Torero Athletics to help kick start the Drive for Torero Success Campaign for USD's revised Master plan for Recreation, Intramurals, club sports and Intercollegiate Athletics. In front of special guests, friends and Torero Alumni, USD announced the first element of Phase I of the build out of the Drive for Torero Success, the renovation of the baseball facility. It will now be known as Fowler Park in honor of Ron and Alexis Fowler who have given a matching gift to Torero Athletics to start this process.
"This University is one of the most wonderful places I have ever had the opportunity to be associated with," stated Ron Fowler. "Alexis and I feel really blessed to be able to put out this challenge grant, and to me, this is Phase I of getting the facilities up to meet the quality of the athletics program here at USD."
The Drive for Torero Success is a $30 Million comprehensive campaign that will include the renovation of the baseball facility; a golf/softball/club sports facility; the renovation of the Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center; and operational and scholarship endowments. Fowler Park will have 1,700 permanent seats and be expandable to over 3,000 in order to accommodate NCAA Regional's and Super Regional's.
"There's an opportunity for us to jump this to a level of excellence that, in my mind, represents what the campus represents," said Ky Snyder, USD executive director of athletics. "We've been a little behind what the campus represents. We started with a strategic plan of getting a real solid athletic program that focuses on winning conference championships while developing exceptional graduates. This is that next step toward excellence"
The field itself will be named in honor of our former coach, John Cunningham, who is still a major part of USD Athletics and is currently in his 50th year with the program. Fowler Park will be adding lights, a clubhouse, office space and suites to the venue. Cunningham field will be reconstructed and rotated so that the dimensions more closely resemble those at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, the host of the College World Series.
Populous, the architecture firm for Fowler Park, created a new Spanish Renaissance-style entry plaza that connects the ballpark with nearby campus architecture. Five levels were created to incorporate necessary programmatic elements - an entry level with plaza space, a suite and plaza level, the main concourse, the Torero Zone and the team clubhouse. The clubhouse will feature ample space for coaches and student-athletes, a training room, equipment room, player lounge, expanded locker rooms, a display and reception area and added space for batting cages. Additionally, Fowler Park will feature a new batter's eye in centerfield and added field lighting.
Rich Hill, who has guided the Torero baseball program to five West Coast Conference titles and six trips to NCAA Regional's, had this to say.
"It's monumental," said USD baseball coach Rich Hill. "In terms of recruiting, in terms of bringing in a premium college baseball venue to San Diego, from a marketing perspective, from an entertainment perspective. It's just a phenomenal thing to add to the University of San Diego. It's stunning. Really." Construction of Fowler Park and Cunningham Field is currently underway. For further information on the Drive for Torero Success campaign, please contact the USD Athletic Development office at (619) 260-5917.