— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Long-suffering Marshall baseball fans have been clamoring for a new baseball stadium for decades.
Updated plans and enthusiastic fundraising are bringing that hope closer to reality.
MU officials approved plans last Friday to move the stadium site to land near the university’s softball complex at 2nd Avenue and 22nd Street. Bids for construction will be opened in October and the winning bidder will have 15 months to complete the project from the time construction starts. The goal is for Marshall to play at the new park to start the 2024 season.
Most of the funding is in place for the baseball stadium construction, but some funds still must be raised privately.
Marshall officials are well on their way to making up the funding gap, thanks to the generosity of fans who see the baseball project nearing construction.
Thundering Herd boosters Melissa and Chris Lambert, with the help of the Big Green Scholarship Foundation, issued a fundraising challenge to MU fans just hours after the stadium announcement. The Lamberts said they’d contribute $50,000 to the baseball stadium work if Marshall fans matched that contribution.
By Sunday afternoon, the Lambert’s challenge had been met, with Herd supporters kicking in $50,513 to trigger the Lambert contribution.
Big Green officials anticipate organizing similar fundraising challenges and events in order to complete financing for the baseball stadium project.
Fans can make contributions or get other information at www.herdrises.com.
Herd adds preferred walk-on from Troy
Marshall’s football team has picked up another player from the transfer portal. This time, it’s from a fellow Sun Belt Conference member in Troy University, which is where defensive lineman Gabe Elrod joins the Herd from.
Elrod announced on social media Monday that he’s joining the Thundering Herd as a preferred walk-on. Elrod is 6-foot-3 and weighs 325 pounds.
Keeping it in the family
Three high school athletes whose fathers were all previously Marshall athletes have been offered scholarships to follow in those footsteps.
Herd football coach Charles Huff has offered scholarships to Cabell Midland running back Curtis Jones Jr. and long snapper Mason Durning of Bogart, Ga.
Jones’ father, Curtis Sr., was a wide receiver at Marshall from 1999-2002. Durning’s father, Jim, was a defensive lineman and captain on Marshall’s 1992 NCAA 1-AA national championship team.
Jones Jr. played last season at Huntington before joining the Knights’ program.
The legacy theme is extended to men’s basketball as head coach Dan D’Antoni has offered a scholarship to Charlotte, North Carolina’s Bryce Slay, whose father, Tamar is one of Marshall’s top all-time scorers and was briefly a part of D’Antoni’s staff this spring.
Bryce Slay is a 6-5 sophomore combo guard who plays at United Faith Christian Academy.