Tigerville, S.C. – North Greenville University officially cut the ribbon of its new softball complex on Saturday, ending a 28-year stint at the old Pepsi Softball Field.
200 down the lines, 220 to center field, natural grass and the usual clay infield. For over 20-years NGU softball called Pepsi field home. The field, built on the backside of NGU's campus saw countless home runs, base hits and strikeouts, but the final pitch in the old facility came in 2016 against Anderson University.
No more than a week later, the ladies of NGU softball and seventh year head coach Sarah Hall were christening a new facility. One with an all-artificial playing surface, large dugouts, and new batting cages and bullpens.
The new digs could arguably be considered one of the finest facilities in NCAA Division II softball with more building planned for the future. Add-ons will include a seating area with bucket seats for fans, a concession stand, and a field house with offices and player locker rooms.
But what is a field without a name? On Saturday, April 23rd, the new home of NGU softball will be dedicated to long time athletic director and former head softball coach Jan McDonald.
In her 34-years at North Greenville, McDonald has seen the institution rise from an NAIA affiliate to an NCAA DII member. She was the pioneer of NGU softball, starting the program in 1985. She led her teams to four softball championships and three national tournaments. In her career, which lasted from 1985 to 2001, she was honored with five coach of the year titles while countless players racked up their own individual accolades.
McDonald took over as athletic director in 1990, helping the school transition fro a junior college to a four-year institution while joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). McDonald would then spearhead NGU's transition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
In her time at North Greenville, she also had a hand in starting the women's soccer program in 1986, serving as head coach for two seasons. McDonald also served as an assistant volleyball coach (1983-1986) as well as for women's basketball (1983-1999).
The ceremony was capped with the first pitch being thrown by donor Gary Glenn. Coach McDonald, or Coach Mac, as NGU student athletes call her, received the pitch from Glenn, kneeling behind home plate.
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others." Philippians 2: 3-4