Donor Naming of ECU Baseball stadium announced
(Jan. 14, 2005)
While the final phases of the construction of East Carolina University's new baseball stadium nears completion, the ECU Educational Foundation has officially identified and announced that the William H. Clark Family of Greenville has committed the lead gift of $1.5 million in support of the facility project.
In addition to its proclamation recognizing the campaign's lead donor, East Carolina has also announced that the naming process of the new stadium has been realized to honor both Clark's generosity and the accomplishments and contributions of former Pirates' head coach Keith LeClair, who guided ECU from 1997 to 2002 before beginning his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
LeClair played an integral role in the push for a new, state-of-the-art baseball stadium on the East Carolina campus, which began in earnest with a fund-raising campaign plan in 2001.
In honor of both contributors, financial and conceptually, East Carolina's new baseball stadium will eternally bear the name of "Clark-LeClair Stadium".
"My family and I are honored and overwhelmed to have our name next to Bill Clark's family on the new stadium," said LeClair. "They have been so generous to our family the past three years during this difficult time in our lives and we sincerely appreciate all that they have done.
"I truly hope that when people see the LeClair name on the stadium, that it represents all ECU coaches and players of the past and present and all the great tradition this baseball program was built on. I am truly honored and blessed for this opportunity and I want to thank all the supporters that made this dream of building a stadium a reality."
Clark-LeClair Stadium, which is scheduled to open March 4, 2005 when the Pirates open their season against Michigan in the opening contest of the Second Annual Keith LeClair Classic, has a price-tag in excess of $10 million of which the ECU Educational Foundation has already raised $9 million in private support.
Clark, a long-time supporter of East Carolina Athletics and the Pirate Club, is a real estate developer who owns Bill Clark Homes of Greenville and residential communities in Raleigh, Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. He and wife Gloria are the parents of sons Hunter, Lance and Heath, a former baseball player at ECU.
"One of the reasons why I wanted to support this project was to get Keith's name on the stadium as it should be," Clark said. "I'm not sure one person has done as much for one individual sport as Keith has for our baseball program. I wanted there to be a legacy for Keith at ECU, something which would qualify the character that he has.
"This (stadium) will be a giant step in realizing Keith's dream of the Pirates going to Omaha," Clark added. "It's a great advantage to host regionals and super regionals in your own park. Obviously, there's a much better chance to win those tournaments at home and be in a position to go on to Omaha."
East Carolina Head Baseball Coach Randy Mazey, who has posted an 85-40 record in two seasons guiding the Pirates' baseball fortunes and is coming off a school-record 51 victories and a No. 8 final national rank, concurred with Clark's objectives and was indebted for his support, commitment and gift.
"Our baseball program is very appreciative of the gift that Mr. Clark and his family has given us, as well as all of the people who have contributed, not just financially, but with their undying support of our baseball program," Mazey said. "Our baseball facility will now be one of the finest in the nation, and I think that the future of East Carolina Baseball is very bright. This new stadium will just bring us one step closer to achieving our goal of playing in the College World Series."