Virginia's Baseball Field To Be Named Davenport Field
April 8, 2002
CHARLOTTESVILLE – The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors voted on April 5 to name the playing field in the University’s baseball stadium Davenport Field. The naming honors the late Thomas Edward “Ted” Davenport, a former captain of the Cavalier baseball team who oversaw fund raising for athletics scholarships at Virginia for 30 years.
At 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, just before UVa’s second contest in a three-game series against Wake Forest, the University will dedicate Davenport Field. Installation of the Bermuda-grass playing surface was completed in 1998 as part of a renovation funded by donors to the University’s recent campaign. A more extensive reconstruction of the University’s ballpark was launched last summer and is nearing completion.
Davenport, who died Nov. 26, 2001, graduated from the University’s Curry School of Education in 1953 and was a two-time captain of the Virginia baseball team and a two-time All-State selection. From 1958 to 1988, he was executive director and secretary-treasurer of the Virginia Student Aid Foundation, which raises funds for UVa’s sports programs. During his tenure, VSAF received more than $29.4 million in gifts for scholarships for student-athletes, capital projects, and other athletics needs.
Davenport served as head coach of the UVa baseball team for the 1960 and 1961 seasons and was head golf coach from 1979 to 1981. After stepping down as executive director of the VSAF in 1988, he served until 1992 as chief operating officer of the Virginia Auxiliary Services Foundation, which at that time managed the University’s Birdwood Golf Course.
“Ted Davenport worked tirelessly to foster the support of alumni and other friends of the University, acquiring the means to recruit athletes who could compete at the highest level in intercollegiate sports and at the same time take full advantage of the rich academic environment at the University,” said Craig Littlepage, director of athletics at UVa. “Few individuals have been more instrumental in achieving what is now a winning tradition at Virginia.”
By naming the state-of-the-art playing surface for Davenport, the University pays tribute to one of Cavalier baseball’s most ardent fans, according to Dennis Womack, head baseball coach. “I can think of no better way to recognize his dedication to student-athletes, his leadership role in fund raising for the athletics program, and his belief in the baseball stadium project,” said Womack.
The installation of Davenport Field was the first step in the transformation of the University’s ballpark into “one of the best places to play and watch baseball in the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Womack added.
In June 2001, with $2 million in gifts from anonymous donors, the University launched a $5 million reconstruction effort that includes a 1,500-seat canopied grandstand, new stadium lights, new dugouts, an onsite locker room and clubhouse, a new press box, and space for sky boxes that can be leased by fans or corporate sponsors. Fund raising for the project is approaching the 80 percent mark, and much of the work on the stadium was completed in time for the 2002 season.