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Eck Stadium

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Eck Stadium

Eck Stadium
Home of Tyler Field
Location Wichita, Kansas
Owner Wichita State University
Operator Wichita State University
Capacity 7,851
Surface AstroTurf GameDay Grass
Construction
Opened 1985
Construction cost $700,000 (original facility)
$7.8 million (1999 Renovation)
Architect Schaefer, Johnson, Cox, Frey and Associates
Tenants
Wichita State Shockers (NCAA, MVC) (1985-present)

Eck Stadium is the home of the Wichita State Shockers baseball team in Wichita, Kansas. It has played host to the Shockers in rudimentary form since 1978, and as a complete stadium since 1985. Officially called Eck Stadium, Home of Tyler Field it is sometimes informally referred to as Eck.

The stadium, which has gone through numerous upgrades since its original completion, currently seats 7,851. This number does not include the Coleman Outfield Hill, made during the original construction because of lack of funding to haul the dirt away, which can seat hundreds more.

On Sept. 23, 1999, The Coleman Co. put a $500,000 exclamation point on Wichita State University's Project FutureShox, a $7.8 million effort to make Eck Stadium-Home of Tyler Field the premier collegiate baseball facility in the nation. Plans to significantly upgrade Eck Stadium were first announced on Jan. 28, 1998, and were taken to another level with the leadership of Gene Stephenson, the winningest collegiate baseball coach since 1978.

Several major contributors stepped forward on the front end of the project, and on Sept. 23, The Coleman Co. accentuated a project that had Wichita State on its way to having the best collegiate baseball facility in the country.

Contents

  • History 1
  • Seating sections 2
    • Virginia H. Farah All-American Club 2.1
    • Coleman Hill 2.2
    • Regular Seating 2.3
  • Playing surface 3
  • Attendance 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

History

When Gene Stephenson revived the Shocker baseball program in 1978, the team played most of the season at the city-owned McAdams Field. With six games left in the season, the team moved to its first on-campus facility, Shocker Field. It was a bare-bones facility built on a former golf practice course, with little more than an AstroTurf field, a chain-link fence and a scoreboard. Limited seating was installed in 1979. The first semi-permanent seating was a 322-seat bleacher section installed in 1981.

In 1985, building on the momentum from the Shockers advancing all the way to the national championship game in 1982, Wichita State built a permanent 3,044-seat stadium at a cost of $700,000. It was named Eck Stadium after Wichita car dealer Rusty Eck, an early supporter of the baseball program.

The stadium's first major renovation came in 1988, with the addition of a new AstroTurf surface, a rubberized warning track and 292 box seats behind the plate. The playing surface was renamed Tyler Field after Ron and Linda Tyler, who funded most of the $425,000 project. A year later, the Shockers won the only team national title by a Shocker team in any sport to date.

Seating sections

Tyler Field in Eck Stadium (2005)

Virginia H. Farah All-American Club

The Virginia H. Farah All-American Club accommodates nearly 200 fans, and features reserved box seats for up to 96 fans on a veranda level immediately in front of the club.

Membership in the Virginia H. Farah All-American Club includes a skybox view of the game from the climate-controlled interior, complimentary food and beverage each game, priority parking and club admission for two fans per membership.

Coleman Hill

The Coleman Hill includes two pavilions and terraces that spruce up the hill. The pavilions feature two covered, split-level, hardwood decks with storage for chairs. One pavilion includes a fireplace. The pavilions provide general seating for groups of fans and may be reserved for special events.

The Coleman Co. also provided chairs, and other products to be used in the pavilions. The majority of the seating on the hill is however on grass. Fans mostly bring their own chairs or blankets to lay on. Colman Hill is known just as "the hill" to Shocker fans. Wichita State allows fans to bring their own beverages, food, and grills onto the hill. This provides a "tailgate" atmosphere. Students of Wichita state frequent Coleman Hill and often heckle the opponents outfielders.

The Coleman gift also resulted in improvements on the field, including installation of new artificial turf and warning track.

Regular Seating

The official seating capacity of Eck Stadium is 7,851. This number counts the chairback seats behind home plate, as well as the chairback seats that line the right field line, and the metal grandstands that reside down the right field line as well. Blue "box seats" are closest to the action behind home plate. Followed by green and yellow seats higher up behind them, they are separated by stairs and a walkway.

Playing surface

AstroTurf GameDay Grass, a modern artificial surface which closely resmebles real grass, was laid down during the summer of 2009. The Shockers held fall practice on the new turf in preparation for the 2010 season.

Through the 2009 season, the infield consisted of field turf with dirt pockets surrounding each base, the pitchers mound, and home plate. The grass was real and stayed constantly green and long. Eck was known for its long outfield grass as batters struggled to get doubles, with the grass slowing down balls hit in the right or left field gaps.

The dimensions are 335 feet down both left and right field lines and 390 to center. Winds often blow from right field to left aiding right-handed batters trying to hit home runs.

Both bullpens are located down the foul lines on the respective 1st and 3rd baselines. Wichita State uses the first base dugout as their own for home games, unless hosting a NCAA regional or the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, where rules would regulate otherwise. The third base lines bullpen also contains batting cages WSU uses for practice.

Attendance

In 2013, the Shockers ranked 22nd among Division I baseball programs in attendance, averaging 2,698 per home game.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ Cutler, Tami (June 11, 2013). "2013 Division I Baseball Attendance - Final Report". Sportswriters.net. NCBWA. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 20, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 

External links

  • Eck Stadium at the WSU website
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