While the field wasn’t quite yet ready, those who turned out were impressed by the beautiful new press box. Soon to be added are the seat back chairs.
JSU Head Coach Jana McGinnis paid tribute to the JSU softball alumni who were on hand for the day’s festivities.
“This stadium won’t change our program,” said McGinnis, of the success that the softball program has had over the years, “but it is something we can be proud of. This program was built a long time ago on very rich standards.”
McGinnis went on to say that the standards, character and respect being two of them, helped to build the new stadium. She applauded the alumni for their dedication, pride and success both as athletes and students.
“These ladies,” said McGinnis, of the returning athletes who had come from Arizona, St. Louis Chicago, Georgia, to name just a few, “worked hard; they loved this field. I appreciate them and what they have built. That is your stadium back there,” said McGinnis, pointing towards the new press box, “thank you.”
“The 23 of us that are on the current softball team right now … we have the benefit of getting to enjoy what they were responsible for.
“We will do our jobs to make them proud, and to continue this program on what it was built on and make it even better.”
Fans were treated to free t-shirts, soft drinks and popcorn, giveaways, as well as the opportunity to meet the team, watch children race with JSU mascot Cocky, and enjoy other games.
McGinnis is in her 20th season as head coach. McGinnis has enjoyed tremendous success, with a 654-369 record. She has had 15 consecutive trips to conference tournaments and has had eight 40-win seasons.
In the nine years that JSU has been a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, JSU has won five league titles, even making it to the Super Regionals in 2009.
JSU is one of only three colleges in the nation that has an entire staff that played or graduated from the same college.
Coach McGinnis had a storied career at JSU where she played basketball and was named two times as All-Gulf South Conference guard. She and her twin sister Dana Austin are the only two female players at JSU to have had their numbers retired.
Assistant Mark Wisner has been with Coach McGinnis for 17 years and Julie Boland, who played softball for the Gamecocks, for 12 years.
The Gamecocks have once again been named the preseason favorite to win the OVC title.