April 25, 2006
CHAPEL HILL -- George Steinbrenner, principal owner of the New York Yankees, the most successful franchise in professional sports history, and the Steinbrenner Family have pledged $1 million to name the courtyard at the entrance to Boshamer Stadium, the University of North Carolina announced today.
The Tar Heels have played home baseball games at Boshamer Stadium, an on-campus facility located on Ridge Road, since 1972. Plans to renovate the stadium are underway, pending a capital campaign.
The courtyard in front of the stadium will be named the Steinbrenner Family Courtyard.
Mr. Steinbrenner has owned the Yankees since 1973, during which time they have won six world championships. He brought the Yankees to Boshamer Stadium to play exhibition games against the Tar Heels in 1977, 1979 and 1981.
Mr. Steinbrenner's daughter, Jenny, and her husband, Stephen Swindal (General Partner with the New York Yankees) are both graduates of the University of North Carolina.
"Everyone at Carolina is extremely grateful to the Steinbrenner Family," says Director of Athletics Dick Baddour. "We are fortunate his family has enjoyed its relationship with the University of North Carolina and that Mr. Steinbrenner felt the Tar Heel baseball program was a worthy recipient of this unique and generous gift."
"I can't say thank you enough to Mr. Steinbrenner, his family and others involved in making this gift possible," says Carolina baseball coach Mike Fox. "We hope to make Boshamer Stadium a first-class facility once again and this helps us achieve that lofty goal. I was lucky enough to play against the Yankees when they came to Chapel Hill in 1977. It was quite a thrill to compete against them. Of course it is an honor to be associated in any way with Mr. Steinbrenner, his family and a great organization like the New York Yankees."
Renovations are expected to include 4,000 chair-back seats (current stadium capacity is approximately 2,500), a wider concourse, new concessions and rest rooms, coaches' offices, locker rooms and strength and conditioning facilities, press box, larger dugouts, covered outdoor hitting and pitching facility, improved irrigation and drainage, a padded outfield wall, improved lights and an area to honor the history of UNC baseball.
"Boshamer Stadium is long due for an overhaul that will allow Coach Fox's team to have a better chance to compete in what is undoubtedly the finest baseball conference in the country," says Baddour. "The Rams Club has worked with Coach Fox to get a start on raising money for the project. We are confident we will reach our goal that will allow us to move forward, hopefully in time for the 2008 season."
The Steinbrenners' gift counts toward the Carolina First Campaign, a comprehensive, multi-year private fund-raising campaign with a goal of $2 billion to support Carolina's vision of becoming the nation's leading public university.
"This wonderfully generous gift by the Steinbrenners will spotlight the efforts to fund the Boshamer Stadium renovation project," says John Montgomery, executive director of the Rams Club. "We've been pleased with the interest we've already seen by some of the former players and alumni. The Steinbrenners' gift is sure to generate even greater interest and participation that will help us reach our goal."