CCU's baseball stadium ranks ninth in college sports
Springs Brooks Stadium, home of the 2016 College World Champion baseball team, ranked ninth on the Best Ballpark Overall list, ahead of Alabama (No. 12), Auburn (No. 23) and former Big South rival Liberty (No. 22). Coastal’s new stadium received five first-place votes; a total of 163 college head coaches and sports information directors cast votes.
The list, published in September, ranks the best ballparks overall and includes such facilities as Texas Christian University’s Lupton Stadium (No. 19), Arizona State’s Phoenix Municipal Stadium (No. 17) and Louisiana State University’s Alex Box Stadium (No. 1).
According to D1Baseball.com, voters were asked to select their favorite ballparks overall but were not allowed to cast votes for their own facilities. They also cast votes in a variety of other categories, including Best Practice Facilities/Player Amenities, a category in which Coastal’s facilities tied for sixth (with Clemson and Alabama), and “Prettiest Settings,” on which CCU ranks third (behind Pepperdine and Ole Miss).
Recent renovations to Springs Brooks Stadium kept the current playing surface – Vrooman Field – intact while building new grandstands, restrooms, concessions stands, coaches offices, student-athlete locker rooms and lounges, team meeting space, a former players locker room, an umpires locker room, state-of-the-art video board and scoreboard, video instruction system, athletic training room, laundry facilities, and premium fan areas and media areas.
The 33,000-square-foot stadium includes 2,500 permanent seats, with the option to accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 fans for events like an NCAA postseason tournament. The current configuration accommodates the extra 3,000-plus fans as a result of grass berms down the right and left field lines and the boardwalk that circles around the outfield wall.
“This facility has some of the best components from the top collegiate and minor league baseball stadiums in addition to having our own unique features,” said head coach Gary Gilmore.
Voters agreed, leaving comments like “Absolutely beautiful; the blueprint for how it should be done”; “Gorgeous park; unique boardwalk beyond the outfield wall is cool”; and “Great overall design and layout. Awesome venue.”
Coastal’s Boni Belle Practice and Hitting Facility opened in 2011 and offers the baseball and softball teams the ability to practice under cover in case of inclement weather, receive more individual instruction, and use the 12 hitting cages and mechanical netting system that can be raised and lowered from the ceiling.
“This hitting facility is among the very best in the entire nation,” said Gilmore. “The flexibility to have multiple things going on at once and the versatility of the building allows us to get a lot accomplished on rare bad weather days.”
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