Asbury Breaks Ground on New Baseball/Softball Facilities
WILMORE, Ky. — On a bright, breezy afternoon tailor-made for spring baseball, Asbury University broke ground on the new Kirkland Complex, a $1.5 million renovation of its baseball and softball facilities on its campus in Wilmore, Ky.
The complex is named in honor of Dr. Jiles E. Kirkland, a 1950 graduate of Asbury University. Kirkland served for 46 years as a United Methodist pastor and as the district superintendent of the Sarasota (Fla.) district. He holds degrees from Asbury and Garrett-Evangelical Seminary, as well as honorary doctorates from Asbury and Bethune-Cookman College. In 2008, he was awarded Asbury’s A Award for distinguished professional achievement and has served on the institution’s Board of Trustees.
Kirkland came to Asbury in the late 1940s from Florida, the 10th of 11 children in his family, with a call to vocational ministry.
“Asbury has made an impression on my life I’ve never forgotten,” Kirkland said. “I’ve met some of the most wonderful people in the world at Asbury, and I can’t imagine seeing my name so prominently displayed here. To God be the glory — great things He has done.”
The groundbreaking took place in the midst of the very activities the new facilities will soon host: a softball game and baseball double-header. Dignitaries including University administration, baseball and softball players, alumni and students gathered to cheer on the Eagles and pray for the vision of the expanded facilities.
“The Kirkland Complex is not only about sports,” said Dr. Doug Wilcoxson, vice president for student development at Asbury. “It’s also about discipleship, as coaches pour into students and mentor them. It’s about outreach, as we expect camps to introduce hundreds of kids to the Lord. And it’s about engaging the culture of sport in topics of ethics and leadership throughout the region.”
Construction on the first of four phases of the new complex will begin in May. Phase One improvements on the baseball field include dugouts, fencing, scoreboard, lighting, bleachers and a pressbox. Softball ball field improvements include fencing, a warning track, a relocated lighting and bleachers.
Pitcher Logan Howard ’15, noted that the new facilities were something to look forward to for next year’s season.
“It will be a great experience, playing on new fields, and it will bring even more people to the program and to our games,” he said.
In 1986, the baseball and softball fields were named in honor of Professor Cecil C. Zweifel, founder of Asbury University athletics, and will retain the name Zweifel Fields.