BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The 100th anniversary of WKU Athletics was celebrated Saturday afternoon with a reunion of former student-athletes and the dedication of the Paul C. Orberson Baseball Clubhouse at Nick Denes Field.
The clubhouse was made possible by a $600,000 contribution from lead donor Paul Orberson, who was recognized along with his wife, Sheryl. Jack and Janice Glasser, Jeff and Lee Ralph, Mike and Mary Dell Reynolds and Reeny and Mary Zarat were also recognized for their significant contributions to the project.
“This is a first class facility in every aspect,” said WKU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork. “A facility of this magnitude has a tremendous impact on our program. It enables us to be more efficient and competitive on a daily basis, and it validates to our recruits and fans that we are totally committed to building and sustaining a first-class program. It is a crucial and vital component to have in the continuing evolution of our baseball program.”
Orberson is the Founder, President and CEO of Hi-Tech Marketing and earned a B.S. in History and Health Education from WKU in 1979. He pitched on the WKU baseball team for four seasons and set the school record with eight complete games as a senior in 1978. His 12 career complete games are still tied for third in school history.
"This clubhouse has been part of a dream I have had for the WKU baseball program for a long time, and it gives me great pride to see this goal become a reality," Orberson said. "I am very proud to be an alum of WKU and to see this program continue to evolve. With the leadership of Dr. Ransdell, Ross Bjork, Chris Finwood and his staff, there is no doubt WKU baseball's best days are ahead."
The 4,000-plus square foot facility, which opened prior to the 2010 baseball season, houses the team and the coaching staff and features on-site training and equipment facilities. The team locker room and players’ lounge makes the squad feel at home at the ballpark, and the head coach and two assistant coaches’ offices make game day operations even easier.
“I can’t tell you how much this clubhouse means to us,” WKU head baseball coach Chris Finwood said. “Every day I step in to the clubhouse I realize how fortunate we are to be here at “the Nick” full-time. This facility makes our job so much easier, and it takes away maybe the one negative we had in the recruiting process and makes it a big positive.”
Prior to the opening of the clubhouse, the WKU baseball team dressed and showered in E.A. Diddle Arena. As the WKU baseball program continues to rise on the national stage, the Paul C. Orberson Baseball Clubhouse will ensure that Western Kentucky University is a prime potential destination for college baseball student-athletes.
“The clubhouse was the one missing element that we had not been able to put together at Nick Denes Field once we improved the playing surface and improved all of the other elements that help make this a terrific place to play baseball,” WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell said. “This clubhouse puts our baseball program in a great position to be very successful.”