JSU's New Baseball Stadium To Be Named After Coach Jim Case
The name of Jacksonville State baseball head coach Jim Case, who played such a giant role in making the school's new facility become a reality, will always be a part of the Gamecocks' new home.
The Gamecocks announced on Wednesday that Case's name will adorn the state-of-the-art facility, which will be named Rudy Abbott Field at Jim Case Stadium. The JSU Board of Trustees approved the naming of the stadium at its quarterly meeting in July, granting the request of Bob Kennamer and Earlon McWhorter, the two private donors that made the facility a possibility with their contributions to the project.
"When Earlon and I made our pledge to support the construction of a new baseball facility, our only request for consideration was the naming rights to the stadium," said Kennamer, a longtime member of the JSU Board of Trustees. "I can't think of a more deserving name to be on this first-class facility that will be the home of a first-class program that Jim Case has run in his time here at JSU.
"We feel this is the perfect way to honor the job that Coach Case has done at Jacksonville State and with our baseball program. He has built a program based not only on success on the field but also success in building young men that become great members of their communities. This will be one of the best college baseball facilities at any level, and we are proud to have a part in adding Coach Case's name to Rudy Abbott Field."
The first year in the renovated park will be Case's 18th at the helm of the Gamecocks, a career that has seen unparalleled success in the Ohio Valley Conference during that time. He is the dean of the coaches in the league and leads all active coaches with 262 OVC wins and a .639 winning percentage in league play. He has posted an overall record of 547-453, won six league titles and claimed two OVC Coach of the Year honors. Having his name on the new stadium he has helped oversee from the start of the planning process will be extra special for him.
"I do not have words to express how grateful I am to have my name associated with one of the finest stadiums that I have ever seen," Case said. "It's an overwhelming honor and I am so thankful for it. This stadium is a generous tribute to the tradition of JSU Baseball and is a great commitment to its future."
The dedication of the stadium will take place on Sept. 28 with a ceremony that will feature former players from the eras of both Abbott and Case. The field was named after Abbott on October 7, 2000, prior to his last season as head coach. The Hall of Fame coach won over 1,000 games and back-to-back National Championships in 1990 and 1991.
The stadium, which has been under construction since the spring of 2017, will open its doors to fans this fall. The first game in the park will be on Sunday, Sept. 30, when the Gamecocks host Mississippi State in an exhibition game that will be free for fans. The game comes as a result of a new NCAA rule allowing baseball teams to play a limited number of games in the fall.
"What a great way to open this facility against one of the premier programs in all of college baseball," JSU Athletics Director Greg Seitz said. "The entire weekend will be in conjunction with Homecoming, making it what should be a wonderful event for all of the players and staff members that have made JSU baseball the program that it is. This field is a testament to Coach Case and Coach Abbott and to all of those players and coaches that have helped build a program that we are so proud of."
The Bulldogs will come to Jacksonville fresh off an appearance in the Championship Series of the College World Series in June. It will be the first time they've been to JSU since the 2006 season, when they brought the No. 1 ranked team in the country to Rudy Abbott Field.
The exhibition game will be a little more special to Case, who spent seven years in Starkville, where he helped guide MSU to six regional appearances, two Super Regionals and two College World Series appearances.
"It's very exciting that the first game played in our stadium will be against a great team like Mississippi State," Case said. "It means even more to me because of the seven years that Jan and I spent in Starkville. I would like to thank Coach Lemonis for making this game happen."
The baseball stadium will include a 1,000 seat spectator grandstand with a shade canopy, seven VIP suites that will be able to entertain large groups with seating inside and outside, a new state-of-the-art press box to include radio and television broadcast booths, a game operations center.
The Gamecocks' home dugout will be located along the first-base line and adjacent to a new clubhouse that will feature a locker room, lounge, team meeting area and athletic training treatment area. The clubhouse will be attached to an enclosed training facility that will allow for batting and pitching workouts. New step-down team dugouts, bullpens, new coaches offices and meeting space will also be included in the project.
"We are very thankful for these generous private gifts from Mr. Kennamer and Mr. McWhorter," said JSU President John M. Beehler. "These transformational gifts, the largest ever made to Jacksonville State University, helped fund this new stadium for the baseball team, and I know Coach Case is honored to have his name on this first-class facility."
(Courtesy: JSU Sports Information: www.jsugamecocksports.com)