For MSU softball head coach Jacquie Joseph, the dedication of Secchia Stadium at Old College Field marks a new era of Spartan softball.
On Saturday, 1,506 people packed the stands as MSU dedicated its new home, Secchia Stadium, before the Spartans (27-27 overall, 6-14 Big Ten) took on No. 2 Michigan (51-4, 18-2) for their final game of the season — an 8-0 loss in five innings to the Wolverines.
“It’s one of those game changers in a program — there aren’t many of those that you get, and this is one of them,” Joseph said. “For the next generation, for all the girls who play the sport across the country — especially in our state — this will be a dream destination for them.”
MSU alumnus and former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Peter Secchia and his wife Joan Secchia donated $1 million to build the new softball facility. The donation was the largest gift MSU has received connected to a women’s intercollegiate sports program.
Secchia Stadium and its plaza’s construction costs were budgeted for $2 million.
Construction on the 1,100-seat stadium started after the 2010 season and was completed shortly before the Spartans’ April 2 home opener — an 8-0 victory on a cold and rainy afternoon in five innings over Wisconsin.
The stadium features 120 chair seats, new backstops, a new press box and handicap-accessible seating for Spartan fans to cheer on the softball program.
“We’re all supposed to (give back),” Peter Secchia said.
“You build your treasury, and then you share it — we have to tell our athletes that. … It’s fun to do — giving is fun.”
MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis said the stadium provides a major upgrade for the softball program.
Hollis said the new complexes, such as Secchia Stadium and McLane Baseball Stadium at Kobs Field, build the foundation to engineer strong programs and are critical in generating interest from athletes on the recruiting trail to advance the competitiveness of the programs.
“It gives you the opportunity to present campus in a positive attitude,” Hollis said.
“As you look around the Big Ten or you look nationally, you want to have venues that compete with what’s at Ohio State or Iowa or Illinois, and these have put us on par — in some cases above par — with those programs.”
For some players such as junior catcher Brett Williams, the new stadium is the start of something bigger for the softball program.
Williams said having a new stadium is exciting for the program, and she’s glad to be a part of it.
“It gives our class the opportunity to start a new legacy at MSU,” Williams said.
“It gives us the perfect opportunity to play in a wonderful place and be able to compete for a Big Ten championship in the future.”
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