Oct. 20, 2006Photo Gallery
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Lady Vol donor Sherri Lee and her family were celebrated on Friday afternoon during a reception at the Neyland Stadium East Club and a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of the new Lee Softball Stadium for their majority contribution towards completion of the new facility.
The complex is currently being constructed off Stephenson Drive on the UT campus next to the new Regal Soccer Stadium. Shovel-fills of dirt were "officially" moved on the new state-of-the-art facility for the two-time Women's College World Series participant Lady Vol softball program.
"This is a great day for the Lady Vol Athletic Department," Women's Athletics Director Joan Cronan said. "The Lee Softball Stadium will be one of the finest facilities not only on this campus but in the entire country. Our goal at the University of Tennessee has always been to provide the finest facilities for our student-athletes to utilize during their careers. This ceremony is about a groundbreaking, a family and a team. For Sherri Lee to step up and make this commitment means a great deal to the University of Tennessee. We all want to say thank you to her and her family for their incredible efforts to improve the UT softball program."
The new Lee Softball Stadium will feature a state of the art press box, private boxes and VIP suites, a digital scoreboard with video playback capabilities, 1,581 seats and three locker rooms. Each team will have its own locker room facility under the stadium complex. The Lady Vols will have a 6,500 square-foot training facility directly adjacent with a locker room, film room, player lounge, training room, kitchen, meeting rooms and coaches offices. The dimensions will be 220' to center field and 200' to left and right field.
"This is a dream come true for Lady Vol softball," Lady Vol co-head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly said. "The 6,500 square-foot locker room will give our players and staff all of the possible amenities available today. The facility will include a theater with the most up-to-date technical advantages with a jumbotron scoreboard. Sherri Lee and her family have been very gracious in their gifts that benefit all current and future Tennessee softball players."
"This stadium and this program mean a lot to me personally," Sherri Lee said. "I enjoy athletics a great deal, and feel that it is very important for women to have the best available opportunities and facilities in order to compete at the highest-level in athletics."
The Lady Vols return 17 letterwinners and seven position starters from their record-setting run to Oklahoma City in 2006. UT also boasts all 61 of its pitching wins back in the form of senior first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-American and national win leader Monica Abbott (44-10, 0.95 ERA, 531 K's) as well as junior standout Megan Rhodes (17-2, 1.40 ERA, 148 K's). Tennessee also returns 74% of its program-best run total, 65% of the hits, 64% of doubles, 83% of the triples, 81% of the home runs, 64% of the RBI and 79% of the stolen bases back from a squad that led NCAA Division I in hitting in 2006 at .342 overall. Highlighting the position returnees are first-team NFCA All-Americans Lindsay Schutzler (.409 batting avg., 94 H, 72 R, 8 3B, 29 SB) and Tonya Callahan (.365 batting avg., 14 2B, 13 HR, 73 RBI) and the Southeastern Conference's top returning hitter India Chiles (.437 batting avg., 66 H, 48 R, 19 SB).
The Lady Vols will open their 2007 campaign at the North Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Feb. 9th, against an opponent still to be determined.
|Lee Softball Stadium Rendering|