Dave Williams Q&A
By Matt Gleaves
January 2, 2012
Q: What do you think will be the stand out accomplishment for the athletic department as a whole this spring?
A: It’s a little hard to predict right now. We are excited about all the teams this spring. It’s one of our busiest times because we have the most sports playing and I think everyone, especially baseball and softball are looking forward to getting into their new facilities.
Q: How excited are the baseball and softball teams about having their new fields?
A: It’s been a long time coming for baseball. Softball was on campus before but not in as nice of facilities. By being off campus last year I think softball understands the value of being on campus. They are excited as well about their new field.
Q: On the baseball field, what was the reasoning behind having a turf infield opposed to a natural surface?
A: 100 percent student athlete welfare. The amount of time and money it takes to upkeep a dirt infield for baseball is enormous. When it rains early in the season student athletes in the past have had to put in countless hours into getting the field ready. Think of a major league baseball team, they have a whole crew of workers to get the field ready. In Division II we don’t have that crew, the crew in the past has been the baseball team. The advantage now is that they don’t have to do all that dirtwork. That was the driving force behind it in my mind. The other driving force was the sometimes cold weather we get in the early season and the ability to guarantee that we will get to play a game even if it rained the day before.
Q: Do you think having baseball and softball on campus once again will spark more student interest in the spring sports?
A: WE hope so. Before when we had softball here we were getting nice crowds to the games. WE noticed a definite drop off when we went off campus last year. Now, we’re hoping they will come back. One of the advantages of it being on campus is students can go for a few innings, an hour between classes or between their last class and maybe dinner and son’t feel like they have to take a whole day to go off campus to see the baseball teams play. Being in the location that it is in, we are hoping that as people are leaving campus, they will see a baseball game being played and decide to stop and wacth a few innings. We think that there will be an increase but I guess we’ll see when the season starts.
Q: Other than the student interest, what other positives do you think will come out of having the fields on campus?
A: Well, the first one is not even athletically related. The baseball field was built with MAX Experience money. The purpose of MAX Experience was that the students that voted for it wanted to boost the pride in Missouri Western as a university through athletic facilities. So I think that all the facilities we’ve done from the indoor field to the spring sports complex to Agenstein and Remington Halls to the new dorms, all they are doing is increasing the pride of Missouri Western students in their university. It will also help enrollment and retention of the student body and certainly there are going to be some athletic payoff as well. Yes, we will be able to recruit and it will be easier to recruit. Kids like shiny objects and the new field is a shiny object for a baseball player.
Q: When the baseball and softball teams were off campus, were there any kinds of complications with working around the city’s schedule to get on the fields for practices or games?
A: We were the first priority but we weren’t the only priority. There were some times when we had some conflicts that we had to work around but the city was awesome. They really bent over backwards for us and did us a favor with Heritage Park. Phil Welch was very similar. It was a rental situation where we had to actually pay to use the stadium and then some of the complication was the competing seasons with the high school baseball. At times the Missouri Western baseball team had to get the field ready for a high school game that was scheduled there that night. Now our baseball team will be able to focus on their season and their field.
Q: As far as plans and budgets, did the new fields come along as planned or where they behind schedule?
A: The whole spring sports complex was a difficult thing to build. The plan for the baseball field was actually to have it done a year ago. But when the possibility of getting the Chiefs training camp here last summer came along, all the projects were stalled. The decision of where we were going to put the baseball field was going to be dependent on if we were getting the chiefs training camp. We had to put the baseball stadium plans on hold because we had to wait to see what land was going to be used for the chiefs facility. So really the baseball field was delayed a whole year because of the training camp project.
Q: Do you think there are any plans to possibly create a golf course on campus?
A: No, I don’t think that a golf course will be built on Missouri Western’s campus. I have actually seen plans for one but if you were going to build a full golf course, the amount of land it takes is enormous. The amount of work a golf course has to have for upkeep is enourmous. So, I don’t see a golf course ever being built on campus. We have considered things like a full driving range. That has been at least discussed before. At the spring sports complex we are hoping to expand that to have two softball fields. You really need two softball fields to be able to have tournaments and full practices sometimes. The next thing we hope to have out there are competition tennis courts. So there are spaces open in the plan for another softball field and for tennis courts.