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Theunissen Stadium


aerial shot.JPGOpened: 2002
Cost: $4.6 Million

The new Theunissen Stadium opened in 2002 and is the home of Central Michigan University baseball. The stadium was designed by Heery International of Atlanta and Hobbs and Black and Associates of Ann Arbor. The stadium was built by Three Rivers Construction during the winter of 2001-2002. The overall cost of the project was $4.6 million. The new stadium replaced the old Theunissen Stadium, which in turn had been known as Alumni Stadium from 1949-1987. Located on Preston Street and part of the athletic complex known as Alumni Field, the old stadium hosted baseball games and other events for decades before the University made a concerted effort to relocate all of its athletic facilities to the south end of campus. The new Theunissen Stadium was built on West Campus Drive, South of Broomfield Street.

Upon completion, Theunissen Stadium suffered slightly from some flooding and drainage problems. The dugout and clubhouse flooded two weeks before opening day after a significant rain and snow storm. Additionally, that summer also saw some drainage problems in the infield and outfield, which resolved themselves shortly after the flooding event.

Still, the stadium boasted several new features compared to the facility it was replacing. The stadium was designed with 400 chairback seats behind home plate and bleacher-style seating along the first and third-base lines. The stadium seats 2,046 spectators in total. There was also a press box with two radio booths, a message board, an electronic scoreboard, and an outdoor practice area. Finally, the Dave and Sue Keilitz Clubhouse offered state-of-the-art facilities for players and coaches. A minor renovation project in 2010 added fencing to an adjacent baseball diamond to create a fully-functioning practice field, along with aesthetic improvements to both the dugouts and the stadium walls. Beginning in 2016, a $2 Million Baseball Performance Development Center was constructed to allow for extra training in the off-season.

The first game at the new stadium was played on March 29, 2002, against Ohio, although the stadium was not officially dedicated as the William V. Theunissen Stadium until April 27, during a double-header against Northern Illinois University. 1,100 fans and over 300 former CMU baseball players, including World Series champion Kevin Tapani, attended the dedication ceremonies.

Theunissen.JPGThe facility was named after Bill Theunissen, a former baseball coach and administrator with the University. His baseball teams compiled a 151-114-1 record during his tenure in the 1950s and early 1960s. At the time of his retirement in 1986, Theunissen was the winningest coach in CMU baseball history, and he currently ranks fourth on that list. Besides playing a variety of sports and coaching baseball at Central, Theunissen became a professor of health and physical education before serving as dean of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (later renamed the School of Education, Health, and Human Services).