Nov. 4, 2006
The Lipscomb University baseball program welcomed back nearly 150 former players and friends of Bison Baseball over the weekend of November 3-4. The weekend was highlighted by the Bison Golf Scramble on Friday, followed by an Alumni Game and Homerun Derby contest on Saturday.
Lipscomb Coach Jeff Forehand, who will begin his first season as head coach of the Bisons this spring. was excited about the weekend.
"The entire weekend was terrific," Forehand said. "We appreciate so much all the guys coming back and taking part in such a great weekend. Our hope was to have a lot of fun and reconnect with some of the players and we feel like we were able to do both. We couldn't have asked for a better start, and we are already looking forward to next fall when we can do it again."
The weekend began with a Golf Scramble of nearly 100 golfers at Opryland's Springhouse Links. The event was filled with lots of hugs and handshakes as many former players saw each other for the first time in several years. Photographs were taken of the players in each decade showing what a historic program the Lipscomb baseball family has been for so many years.
Taking the top prize for this years Alumni Golf Scramble were former Bisons Jeff Guy, David Hatch, Walter Ward and Terry Moore with an impressive score of 57.
On Saturday, the former Bisons dusted off their gloves and put on their spikes to hit the field one more time. The Bisons started the day off with a little batting practice before entertaining the fans with the Homerun Derby contest.
Wes Wilkerson, Class of 2000, had earlier taken three homeruns out of Dugan Field and was set to take home the derby championship, before former Bison Tim Liddle, the final contestant, stepped up to the plate. Liddle, Class of 1982, sent four of his 10 pitches over the fence to be crowned the 2006 Homerun Derby Champion. Special thanks to Jackie Charlton, Class of 1968, for sponsoring the Century 21 Homerun Derby.
Following the Homerun Derby, the alumni broke up into teams to take the field one more. The game was highlighted by Brian Passons, Class of 2003, three run homer over the right field fence.
The day also featured a Kids Game that followed the Alumni Game. The Alumni children were also entertained by blow-up games that were brought in for the event.
"We appreciate so much all the help from our current players, parents and volunteers for their work to make the weekend such a huge success," Forehand said. "It was a team effort with everybody pitching in and making the weekend so much fun. One of the greatest things about the weekend was our current team getting to meet the former players and seeing the tradition we have here at Lipscomb."
The day closed with the Alumni and the 2007 Bisons gathering for a group photograph. The current team also was able to hear former Bisons Farrell Owens, Class of 1968, and Steve Liddle, Class of 1981, share with them memories of when they played for Lipscomb.
"One of our goals is to reconnect with as many former players as possible. We hope they will keep up with our current team and hopefully come out and see a game this spring," Forehand said. "There is a rich baseball tradition at Lipscomb and I find out more about the great history everyday.
"There is a lot of energy and a lot of support here for baseball. I am 100 percent convinced that we can fill this place up for each and every game. We want to lead this program to even greater days and we are going to put a good product on the field. It will be a product that everyone can be proud of and be excited to call their own. I'm happy that everyone can take ownership in what we are about to do here."
The weekend was also highlighted by Coach Forehand unveiling the Lipscomb Baseball Touch Em All Expansion Program. The weekend started Phase 1 of a three phase campaign. Phase 1 has a goal of $100,000 and is named For the Field. Dugan Field has gone through extensive renovations over the past couple of months. Besides a complete field renovation, the program has also received new field turf equipment to help manicure Dugan Field. Also, a new home plate artificial turn halo has been installed reaching from the third base dugout to the first base dugout. The turf is centered with a 12 foot Power L logo. Future projects of Phase 1 include a new outfield wall, new brick walls along the left and right field lines and a new scoreboard facade.
Future Touch Em All Expansion Program phases include, Phase 2-For the Fans, where the Grandstand Seating at Dugan Field will be upgraded and Phase 3-For the Future, where a Bison Field house and Hitting Facility will be constructed. The field house will include dressing rooms, coaches' offices and other facilities that will help elevate the Lipscomb program.
"Not only was the weekend a huge success in terms of the former players coming back, but we also got off to a great start with our goal for Phase 1," Forehand said. "We have the $100,000 goal broken down into $25,000 when we get to first, $50,000 when we get to second, $75,000 when we get to third and when we Touch Em All, we'll be at $100,000 to complete Phase 1.
"We got a great start over the weekend by rounding first and now we are heading for second looking to reach our goal of Phase 1. We know there are former players and friends of Lipscomb baseball that will step up to the plate to help us. We are convinced there are a lot of people that will support us and help benefit our program. The weekend was great in so many ways and again we cannot say thank you enough to everyone for coming back to be a part of the fun."
The Bisons open the 2007 on Feb. 9, 2007. The 50-year Class of 1957 will get things underway by throwing out the first pitch to get the 2007 season underway. Be sure to mark your calendars.
This story was written by Andy Lane, a former Bisons baseball coach and the assistant director of operations.