By Devin Smith
Saturday Troy University invested itself in future success with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Players, parents, fans and various members of the University and softball program gathered at the softball complex, now under construction, to witness the beginning of the next chapter for Troy softball.
Speakers, including Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. and Athletic Director John Hartwell, hinted at the expectations for the complex, placing it among the country’s elite.
“When this facility is completed this spring our softball facility is going to be on par with any complex in the country,” Hartwell said. “Not just seating wise, but certainly with the day-to-day home of our softball program.”
The ceremony for the $3 million dollar complex showed that renovations will include an 8,000-square foot training facility, artificial grass outfield and the field and dugouts being lowered for improved fan sight.
These and other upgrades included are meant to bring Troy back to its prior glory once achieved in Division II.
“We, by any measure, had the best Division II program in the country,” said Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. “Then more than 20 years ago we made a commitment to step up to Division I. Division I athletics requires that we be the best that we can be. A big part of that would be facilities.”
For two decades head coach Melanie Davis has been the driving force behind the elevation of the softball program, and she cannot help but be pleased with the level of commitment being shown.
“The fact that the chancellor is committing the University resources along with our donor dollars to elevate our facility to the highest and the best in the Sun Belt Conference and better than utmost any facility in the region,” Davis said. “It speaks volumes as to his commitment to our program.”
Davis expects the sleek look of the program’s new home will motivate her players even more than they were before.
“I think they’re going to work extra hard to do their very best to represent Troy University and bring home the Sun Belt Conference Championship,” Davis said, “Which is what we all strive for from day one to day 365.”
Coaching at Troy is her passion, but her joy is about more than simply having a nice field and office, it resides on a much more personal level.
“Troy University is a big part of my family,” Davis said. “Ninety percent of the friends I have I’ve made in my 20 years here at Troy. It’s more than just a university; it’s more than just a job. We are family.”