Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
Oklahoma Christian University announced today that it is launching a fundraising drive to build a first-class softball stadium. Ricky and Kelly Lawson will lead the drive.
Head Softball Coach Tom Heath said that he and his team are “ecstatic about the possibility of playing in a new, first-class stadium. It’s really hard to express what the new stadium will mean to our team, our fans and Oklahoma Christian,” he said.
Ricky Lawson, a 1992 OC alumnus, said he and Kelly became interested in the university’s softball team after friend Kent Allen, vice president of alumni relations, suggested that he attend a game. “I knew Tommy when I was a student at Oklahoma Christian and he was in charge of intramurals,” Lawson said. “After Kelly and I got involved with the team, we noticed that Tommy was working really hard on the field, dragging the infield, watering by hand and so on. We decided we wanted to help the team and this new field, which we think will be as nice as any in the country, seemed like the natural thing.”
Lawson stressed that it would be a completely new stadium. He hopes construction can begin following the 2012 season.
Heath said the Lawsons have already made conditions much better for the program, which is having a stellar year and has a shot this weekend to go to the national championship. “Ricky and Kelly have generously contributed over the last few years to allow us to enter tournaments and to travel when we otherwise might not have been able to. They have been a blessing to our team.”
Lawson said the fundraising effort would begin immediately and that plans would be prepared as soon as possible to display the new field to potential donors.
“We want the players’ families and friends, as well as all OC alumni and friends, to have an active part in building a softball stadium of which we will all be very proud. Tommy has done such a wonder job building the current stadium and team with very few resources. I’m confident that with a world-class facility, he will not only bring new excitement to OC softball, but will continue to attract even more outstanding talent and put a great product on the field.
“We’re just so pleased to be involved with the team,” he said. “We have gotten to know the players — many of them babysit for us. Kelly has really connected with many of the players as well. It gives us great pleasure to give these wonderful young ladies something they can really be proud of.”
Mike O’Neal, president, said that OC is blessed to have alumni like the Lawsons who care so deeply for the students now and into the future. “I believe it is one of the things that sets Oklahoma Christian apart. We are so proud of the job that Tommy has done with the softball team and we believe this will become an elite program.”