Top 10 Moments of the 2000s: No. 2
Top 10 Moments of the 2000s: No. 2
The Evolution of Tointon Family Stadium
Note: This is the ninth edition of a 10-part series chronicling the top 10 Kansas State Baseball moments of the 2000s, counting down to the Wildcats' 2010 season opener on February 19 against Delaware. The events were voted on by an eight-person panel consisting of: Head Coach Brad Hill; former Head Coach and Director of Development Mike Clark; Associate Athletics Director Casey Scott; Director of Baseball Operations Justin Tadtman; Sports Information Director Kenny Lannou; Baseball SID Ryan Lackey; and the Voices of K-State Baseball, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters.
MANHATTAN, Kan. - Most stadiums in college athletics are built to bring in big-name recruits. Others are built in response to the arms race of stadiums in collegiate athletics. But the biggest reason that Tointon Family Stadium was built was to keep Kansas State a major player in collegiate baseball.
While other schools were dropping their baseball programs, such as Iowa State in the Big 12, Kansas State was expanding its role. And anything that followed the evolution of Tointon Family Stadium wouldn't have been possible without its existence.
"Nothing else that happened in the decade would have been possible without the major upgrade in facilities that allowed the program to become legitimate," said Associate Athletics Director Casey Scott.
Formerly known as Frank Myers Field, Tointon Family Stadium was named in honor of Bob and Betty Tointon, the principle benefactors of the stadium's $3.1 million improvement project.
"We are supporting K-State because we feel good about the experiences we had there and because we feel good about what it is today," said Bob Tointon at the time of his donation.
Every facet of the stadium was improved over the two-year period and was completed in time for the 2002 campaign. The improvements began with a new playing surface with state-of-the-art drainage and irrigation systems, new home and visiting dugouts and a new seating bowl with capacity for 2,331 fans. The improvements also included a 3,150 square foot locker room complete with 33 custom-built wood lockers, a bathroom, shower facilities and a training room. Adjacent to the locker room is a team room that included a big screen TV, couch, study tables and computers.
The players were the major winners in the renovation project, but the coaches and the fans benefitted as well. The new facility included new, spacious offices inside the stadium complete with a conference room and lobby area, as well as a coaches' locker room. The amenities for Wildcat fans included the addition of permanent restroom and concession areas, and suites that included indoor and outdoor sitting. The suites surrounded a new 1,380-square-foot press facility that included a main press box, radio booths for home and visiting radio, as well as a television broadcast booth.
"The facility will be as nice as there is in the country, so it's a great commitment by the university to the baseball program," said former head coach Mike Clark prior to the renovation project. "It's a facility that our players can take great pride in. I think it's a win, win, win situation for Kansas State baseball, Kansas State University and the community of Manhattan."
Kansas State has continued to improve the stadium, keeping it up-to-date by today's standards of collegiate baseball. Improvements continued in the fall of 2003 as a lighting system, an electronic scoreboard, an improved warning track and a permanent ticket booth were added. The lighting system boasts 152 fixtures mounted on eight polls. Together, they provide 100 footcandles in the infield and 70 footcandles to the outfield, which meet Class I IEC standards for collegiate baseball venues.
The facility, which was famous for years for its use of a manually-operated scoreboard, now uses a Daktronics state-of-the-art scoreboard. The 20-foot-tall by 36-foot-wide scoreboard provides basic statistics and features an electronic message center for additional live game and player information.
The 1,500 square-foot John L. Allen Strength Center is located behind the first base dugout of the stadium and also houses full-time strength coach Scott Bird's office area. Allen, former chief operating officer of the Cincinnati Reds, provided the gift to equip and furnish the new baseball strength training area at Tointon Family Stadium.
Prior to the 2007 season, the infield and warning tracks got a facelift as FieldTurf was installed, allowing for even better practice and game playing conditions. Then, before the 2008 season, new purple chairback seating took the place of bleacher seating in the grandstands behind home plate to give the growing population of fans a more comfortable environment to enjoy the game.
And improvements continue today as a state-of-the-art coaching video system has been added for the 2010 season. The four-camera system allows the Wildcat coaching staff to log and evaluate the swing of every batter and each pitch. The system was paid for in part by contributions from members of the Diamond Cats, which consists of K-State baseball alumni and supporters.Kansas State has steadily been on the rise in collegiate baseball, evidenced by the 2009 campaign when the Wildcats won a school-record 43 games and were selected to their first-ever NCAA Regional. But to get K-State baseball to where it is today, the evolution of Tointon Family Stadium had to happen. And with hard work by the Tointons, former head coach Mike Clark and former athletic directors Max Urick and Tim Weiser, that evolution was able to take place.
Top 10 K-State Baseball Moments of the 2000's
No. 10: Into the Bottom of the 20th We Go... (2/9)
No. 9: Cats Top KU Before Record Crowd (2/10)
No. 8: Hill, Morris Garner National Awards (2/11)
No. 7: K-State Advances to First Big 12 Tournament (2/12)
No. 6: Cats Take Two at No. 2 Texas
No. 5: Clark Retires as Winningest Coach in School History (2/14)
No. 4: Brad Hill Hired as Head Coach (2/15)
No. 3: Cats Advance to First Big 12 Title Game (2/16)
No. 2: The Evolution of Tointon Family Stadium (2/17)
No. 1: February 18