Nicole Spewak | News Editor
Over homecoming weekend, the Wheaton College baseball team’s new home at the previously-named Legion Field in Carol Stream was christened the Lee Pfund Stadium in honor of former Head Coach Lee Pfund, who led the Wheaton baseball team to a CCIW Championship in 1951.
President Philip Ryken began the naming ceremony with comments on the progress of the renovations of the field thus far and with memories of Pfund from his childhood. Trustee emeritus Donald Meyer ’57, who played as a catcher under Pfund, also told of his experiences at Wheaton. The honoree, 92-year-old former coach Lee Pfund, then spoke to the crowd, delivering personal stories and encouragement for those at the field and for future generations of Wheaton baseball.
Pfund was presented with a jersey with his number, 17.
“Coach Pfund is such a popular figure here at Wheaton, and so many people have fond memories of him. ... He’s made quite an impact on a lot of people,” said Matt Husted, the Head Baseball Coach of the Thunder.
A Wheaton alumni baseball game was played on the field that day.
“So many people came on the field to see Coach Pfund that we probably had the alumni game delayed by about 20 minutes,” Husted said.
One of Pfund’s sons, Kerry Pfund ’71, delivered the first pitch to Jonathan Harnish ’68, a former Wheaton catcher.
About 30 alumni participated in the game, with alumni from the late ’70s to the present represented among the players. Husted commented that he thought it was really exciting to see such a broad span of people represented on the field.
Wheaton College has a long lease on the property where Lee Pfund Stadium rests. The new stadium is anticipated to be the long-term home of Wheaton baseball. Renovations and construction at the stadium began in the spring of 2012.
Husted explained the need for an ideal place adequate for college level play acted as an impetus to begin the construction that has been in the works for years.
To date, new dugouts, artificial turf, a suspended cable backstop and wall, batting cages and eight light poles have been installed at the field. The artificial turf is a significant addition, allowing the team more time to play and practice earlier into the season as the turf is more impervious to weather and the effects of melting snow and rainy days.
As funds continue to be raised, final additions to the field will include bathrooms, concessions, storage, locker rooms, stands and a press box to bring the project to completion.
Husted hopes to see the project finished soon, and cited the homecoming ceremony as a big kickoff for the stadium.
“Wheaton is a place of excellence. That is what is expected ... and I think that this, if it is completed, will be that sort of model of excellence,” Husted said.
Photo credit: Allison Freet
Printed in the October 12, 2012, issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to email@example.com.