BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Less than three months removed from one of the most successful seasons in Western Kentucky University baseball history, steps are being taken to ensure that future Hilltoppers have every chance to succeed in the Sun Belt Conference and on the national stage.
Ground was broken today on a new clubhouse that will house the Hilltopper baseball program. The project, which was partially paid for with a private donation, will take between five and six months to complete. The Paul Orberson Clubhouse is scheduled to be ready for the upcoming baseball season and will be one of the finest facilities in the country. The estimated price tag is $800,000.
“We are all so excited about the construction of our new baseball clubhouse,” Hilltopper head coach Chris Finwood said. “This has been a four-year journey and has taken a lot of hard work and planning from a number of people associated with our baseball program.”
“I would like to thank Dr. Ransdell and Dr. Selig for their support of this very important step up in our baseball facility. I would also like to thank Paul Orberson, Dr. Jack Glasser and Mike Reynolds for their leadership positions during this project.”
The 4,200 square-foot clubhouse will feature a head coach’s office and two assistant coaches’ offices, in addition to a 250 square-foot equipment room. The Hilltopper baseball team will have a locker room and a players’ lounge, and the clubhouse will also have an on-site training room for injury prevention and rehabilitation.
The clubhouse project was made possible by a donation by Paul Orberson, a former baseball player at Western Kentucky University. The clubhouse will be built adjacent to Nick Denes Field and will be linked to the indoor batting facility.
“Mr. Orberson’s gift really brought the project together, and we want to make sure that it is a facility that he will be proud to have his name on,” Finwood explained. “The Paul Orberson Clubhouse will really help us continue to make ‘the Nick’ a first-class place to play college baseball.”
The 2009 Hilltopper baseball season was one for the record books. The team earned its first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in program history and went 3-2 in the Oxford Regional as a number three seed. The three wins, including a thrilling come-from-behind victory over eighth-ranked and top-seeded Ole Miss, equaled what the program had accomplished in terms of postseason wins in the previous 89 years of Hilltopper baseball.
The Hilltoppers finished the 2009 campaign ranked 23rd in the final Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll, the program’s first national ranking since 2001. WKU finished its record-setting season at 42-20, the first 40-win season in 21 years and fifth overall. In addition, the Hilltoppers posted a 21-8 mark in Sun Belt Conference play, earning the team a share of the conference regular-season championship.