Last week, it was announced that Roger Clemens and his wife, Debbie, had donated $1 million to assist with the funding for a new indoor training facility for Texas baseball. In a statement released by the University, Athletics Director Chris Del Conte and head coach David Pierce expressed their appreciation for the gift and what it meant for the future of the baseball program.
“The Clemens family absolutely bleeds orange,” Del Conte said in the statement. “This gift truly underscores their love for Texas. Their generosity will help our baseball program continue to grow and prosper for years to come.”
“On behalf on the coaches and players, I want to thank Roger and Debbie for their incredible gift to help support our new indoor facility project,” Pierce added. “This is big-time support from the ‘Rocket’ and his family.”
During Wednesday’s media availability, Pierce took a moment to again thank the Clemens family and other donors for their generosity. He also went into more detail about the future indoor facility.
“First, I’d just like to thank all the donors that have contributed to that, especially a couple of the late ones in Roger (Clemens) and Dan Brown, some really major contributors,” Pierce said.
The current plan is for the new indoor facility to feature space for multiple batting cages, a pitching area where the players and coaches can utilize various systems such as TrackMan and Rapsodo, and an open ended weight room. The current weight room would become a players lounge and life skills area. Pierce also mentioned eventually moving the coaches offices to the new facility, where the coaches would be able to have a view of the field out one side, while also being able to look down into the indoor training area on the other side. The total cost of the project would be $9 million.
The Longhorns are currently the only program in the Big 12 who does not have an indoor baseball training area. The new facility will give Texas a boost in two key areas: development and recruiting.
“It’s unbelievable for recruiting,” Pierce said. “Recruiting is always the essence of your program, but development. Right now, we have no space for development. Everything we have here at Disch-Falk is unbelievable, but we truly have no indoor. If it’s raining, if it’s lightning, if we’ve got 30 degree weather in January, or late spring, or even early fall, we have no conveniences there. It’s going to really contribute to our development as well.”
As for a timeline, Pierce said the plan is to break ground on the new facility at some point during the summer.
“We’ve talked about summer, at least the demolition of it,” Pierce said. “I would like to start it where it goes from the demolition right into the structure. I’m hoping toward the end of summer, mid to end of summer. They’ve really done a great job of expediting this project it sounds like. I’m not that involved day to day right now, but what I’m hearing is there’s a great opportunity we’ll start hopefully mid-summer.”
Additional Notes from Tuesday’s Media Availability
- When asked about the wind at Dan Law Field in Lubbock and how it could affect the way he handles his pitchers, Pierce said it could be a series where he leans more heavily on ground ball pitchers out of the bullpen. Pitchers like Andy McGuire, Parker Joe Robinson and Jake McKenzie could be called on in key spots during this weekend’s series.
- With the end of the season approaching and a possible regional just around the corner, Pierce was asked about his starting pitching once he gets past his 3 weekend starters. The head coach said there is no clear cut answer for the 4th starter right now, but Freshman Bryce Elder could be a guy who is utilized in a starting role down the road.
- While on the topic of pitching, Pierce said he and the coaching staff are probably going to have to narrow it down to about 8 pitchers they trust on the mound. This comes on the heels of a shaky outing from the bullpen on Tuesday, when several pitchers struggled.
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