The University of West Florida has received $100,000 for the naming rights of the hitting facility used by the university’s baseball and softball teams. Members First Credit Union of Florida officially presented UWF with a $100,000 check April 29 at Jim Spooner Field.
The facility, which opened at the beginning of the 2016 season, will be named Members First Credit Union Hitting Facility, pending UWF Board of Trustees approval.
In a statement, baseball head coach Mike Jeffcoat described the new facility as an “icebreaker” for the UWF athletic department’s master plan to upgrade its sports facilities.
“It brings immediate benefit to our athletes by providing a first class training environment that projects our commitment to success,” Jeffcoat said. “I want to thank Members First Credit Union for its incredible gift, and I am honored to see its name placed on our facility.”
Softball Head Coach Melissa Paul credited the facility with helping the program attract new recruits.
“We are so grateful for this facility and what it has done and will continue to do for our program,” Paul said in the statement. “Campers, other teams and potential future Argonauts are blown away by what is one of the top Division II softball hitting facilities in the nation. Our players and staff are so appreciative of the support we have to provide such an amazing facility to work in every day. Thank you to Members First Credit Union for giving us the resources and support we need to stay competitive.”
The hitting facility is a multi-purpose, 9,100-square foot indoor training center for baseball and softball. The facility includes LED lighting that adjusts according to daylight, regulation-height pitching mounds for baseball, four hitting bays for batting practice with protective netting that can be raised or lowered to allow for larger surface usage, and a section designed specifically for softball. It is located behind the left field wall at Jim Spooner Field, near the UWF softball complex, and allows for simultaneous practices by both teams, including during inclement weather.
In the statement released by UWF, Members First Credit Union President Caryl Greene said the organization was “excited” to partner with the university’s athletic program.
“Our roots are in education, and partnering with UWF seemed like a natural progression,” Greene said. “Athletics are an integral part of college life, and we wanted to support education at all levels. Our commitment to community, education and family is in the forefront of everything we do. We are $184 million in assets and have over 16,000 members, but many people still don’t know who we are. We felt this was a way to get our name out there and support a great cause.”