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The Pohlad family donated $2 million toward a new University of Minnesota baseball stadium

  

University of Minnesota Athletics and Gopher baseball has received its first major gift donation for the proposed new Siebert Field renovation project from the Pohlad Family Foundation Director of Athletics Joel Maturi and Golden Gopher head baseball coach John Anderson announced on Tuesday, May 18.

The gift from the Pohlad family covers $2 million of the proposed $7.5 million total cost for the renovated Siebert Field project. Minnesota’s upgraded baseball facility would be located on the site that Siebert Field currently occupies, and is slated to hold 3,000 fans.

“We are pleased to help the University of Minnesota Athletic Department and Golden Gopher baseball kick off the campaign for the renovation of Siebert Field,” said Jim Pohlad. “The Golden Gopher baseball program has included baseball greats such as Paul Molitor, Terry Steinbach and Dave Winfield, who spent parts of their major league careers with the Minnesota Twins. This project helps amateur baseball in the state and will allow fans to enjoy watching Gopher baseball in a new, safe and up-to-date facility.”

To date, Gopher Athletics has over $3.5 million funds committed toward the Siebert Field renovation campaign. In addition to the Pohlad family’s gift of $2 million, Gopher Athletics is committed to add over $1 million from its general operating fund, along with gifts from other donors of over $500,000. A remaining amount of $4 million needs to be raised to begin construction on the new ballpark.

“The Golden Gopher baseball program is extremely grateful to the Pohlad Family for their very generous gift and support for this much needed facility,” said Anderson. “This partnership will allow us to achieve greater levels of excellence on and off the field, and will honor our rich traditions as we work together to secure a vibrant future for baseball in Minnesota. The Pohlad Family Foundation has a long history of successful philanthropic collaboration with many charitable and educational organizations within the state of Minnesota. A new Siebert Field will provide exciting new collaborative opportunities for the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Twins to partner with amateur baseball in the state to help foster and grow our great game for generations to come.”

The Siebert Field Legacy Campaign is designed for former players, University alumni and friends to play a critical role in upgrading Gopher Baseball facilities by raising the remaining funds to complete the project. Construction can only begin when all of the $7.5 million can be accounted for by pledged or cash donations.

“We thank the Pohlad family for their generous gift to the Golden Gopher baseball program,” said Maturi. “We are excited about moving toward completion of this project. The New Siebert Field will be a wonderful gathering place for amateur baseball in Minnesota, and this gift from the Pohlad family is a great way to build momentum toward the completion of a project that will celebrate the rich and successful tradition of Golden Gopher baseball.”

 

Press conference quotes

Joel Maturi

University of Minnesota

Athletic Director

“This afternoon certainly is a special time for the University of Minnesota, for this athletic department and certainly for our baseball program. We’ve been fortunate in this community to build some beautiful facilities in the last few years, but nobody has waited longer for a new facility than John Anderson and the faithful of the Minnesota baseball program.

“Siebert Field has served us well for a long time, but it’s very very obvious that it needs an upgrade and it needs a change. We are so grateful to the Pohlad Foundation to give us this major gift, to allow us to begin the fundraising efforts to build a new facility.

“I think for Jim [Pohlad] to be here says a lot. We’re very thankful for your presence Jim. It says a lot about your commitment to this community, certainly a commitment to amateur baseball, because this is about more than just the Gophers, it’s about serving everyone that player amateur baseball on the campus or in the community, because that’s what we envision our facility to be.

“We’re ready to take the leadership of Steve Goldstin and the foundation, David Crum and our Golden Gopher Fund, and their staffs. It’s because of the major gift that we have received that we’re confident we can raise the monies that are necessary to bring Gopher Baseball back to Siebert Field.”

 

Jim Pohlad

Pohlad Family Foundation

“It’s nice to be here on a beautiful outdoor day. We’re still just getting used to this outdoor baseball thing so sitting out here with the beautiful green grass is great. We’re very happy to be supportive of the University of Minnesota and Gopher baseball. We do a lot to support professional baseball, but we think it’s very important, from our family’s standpoint to also support amateur baseball, and it really starts here with the Gophers.

“It’s a long time program and something that the “U” can really be proud of, and has been proud of, and hopefully it’s something that is just going to get better and better. So we’re very happy to be able to do this, to make this financial commitment, and were also willing to work with the “U” as much as we can to help them reach their goal.”

 

John Anderson

University of Minnesota

Head Baseball Coach

“I want to thank the members of the media and the others who are here today, the supporters and the people who have been instrumental in supporting Golden Gopher athletics, our baseball program, and the University of Minnesota as well.

“First and foremost, Jim [Pohlad], you didn’t make us wait too long. I’ve been waiting a long time and I was just thankful that you were willing to open your doors and your ears, you and your family and the foundation, to listen to our need here to have a new baseball facility back on our campus.

“This is the 122nd season of Gopher baseball here at the University of Minnesota. It’s the oldest sport on campus, the first game was played in 1876, and so it’s got a long history and tradition. I came into the program when Dick Siebert was the head coach, really the greatest head coach in the history of our sport, one of the greatest head coaches in the history of college baseball and he spent 31 years here. He was instrumental in the building of this facility that opened in 1971. After he passed away, we were fortunate to put his name on it in 1981 as Dick Siebert Field.

“For me personally, the exciting part is that we get to create a new facility here, keeping his name on the facility means a great deal to me. Having his name on here, and having a beautiful new facility is something I know would make him very very proud, based on his accomplishments at the University of Minnesota.

“I’ve been coming out here since the fall of 1974, about 35 years I’ve been walking out here at different times of the year. This might be, in my 35-year history at the University of Minnesota, the best day that I’ve ever walked out from those offices, out to this field. I’ve been blessed.

“At 26, I was asked to lead a very storied and very successful baseball program. I always wanted to make sure that if I was going take this challenge on and be a part of it, I was going to leave the program in better shape than I found it. And surely by getting the Pohlads and their very very generous gift, we are very grateful, this is going to inspire others to join the campaign, to support the campaign and bring this new facility to reality.

“I think there has been a lot of conversation over the years about building a new facility. I think there are some people out there that are wondering if we’re really going to do it.

“I think today is a great day, and we’re thankful for their family. I got to know Carl and Eloise Pohlad well in their time here in the community and as leaders in the community, and the impressive thing about the Pohlads, and their family and foundation, is they have always been willing to step up in this community and make it a better community, whether it’s in education, or sports, or charitable activities, or educational activities in our state.

“And once again they’ve stepped forward here today to bring baseball back into a new facility back on campus. Something for generations to come. Hopefully we can continue to develop champions out here on and off the field, and I can’t thank you and your family enough, Jim, for this opportunity.”