March 1, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama dedicated the newly renovated and expanded John and Ann Rhoads Softball Stadium today.
Dr. Malcolm Portera, Chancellor of The University of Alabama System, Dr. Robert E. Witt, UA's President and Mal Moore, the Crimson Tide's Director of Athletics, as well as Ann Rhoads and UA softball coach Patrick Murphy, were among those present for the ribbon cutting ceremony.
"Ann Rhoads is a dear friend to the University and a great supporter of Alabama Athletics," Moore said. "I would like to thank her for all she has done to help the Crimson Tide remain one of the nation's elite programs."
The stadium is named for long-time Alabama softball supporter Ann Rhoads, one of the most avid followers of the full spectrum of the Tide's athletic programs, and her late husband.
"This facility is just tremendous and it will make a difference for our softball program, which has already accomplished so much," Moore said. "I am very proud of Coach Pat Murphy and this team and how they represent the University of Alabama."
Already considered one of the nation's top facilities, the Tide added a new clubhouse, featuring a new locker room, training room, video room and team area, as well as new state-of-the-art 7,930 square foot hitting facility, which is one of the largest in the country.
"This is a dream come true," Murphy said. "It is amazing how far this program has come from where it started 15 years ago. To see the girls walk into the facility for the first time was truly remarkable. I cannot be more thankful."
This latest renovation comes more than a year and half after the "Brickyard" area was added to the facility. The tiered seating in right field added an additional 1,000 seats to the complex.
One of the nation's top destinations for softball action, Rhoads Stadium has led the nation in attendance over the last three years, including an NCAA record in 2009. The Tide welcomed over 70,000 fans to Tuscaloosa that season, shattering the old mark of 55,746, set by Fresno State in 1999.