Largest ever gift to Cowley College to make indoor practice facility a reality
Thanks to the largest ever donation to Cowley College courtesy of Major
League Baseball player and 1997 graduate of Cowley College, Travis Hafner,
Cowley College’s Board of Trustees approved construction on an
indoor practice facility, which will be built south of the school’s
baseball field and west of the track and field parking lot.
The Board approved the resolution at a cost of $3.27 million. Along with
Hafner's lead donation, money will also be raised through a newly implemented
capital campaign. There will be no increase in property tax or mill levy
to fund the project. However, the college will issue certificates of
participation to allow them to pay for the project over time.
The facility will feature a multi-purpose area, batting cages, weight
facility, coaches offices, athletic training room, a pair of conference
rooms, as well as locker rooms and restrooms.
With the addition of the track and field and cross country teams in 2001,
and the soccer teams in 2008, Cowley has been in need of an additional
practice facility, along with the school’s recreation building.
Cowley College athletic director, Tom Saia, who has helped build the
Tiger athletic program into one of the top junior college programs in
the nation, has dreamed of having an indoor facility for many years.
"This will be a great recruiting tool not only for our student athletes,
but for students as well," Saia said. “This will help put us at
the top of recruiting in-state and out of state student athletes.”
The facility will be utilized by all 15 of Cowley’s athletic teams.
Hafner, who was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 31st round of the
1996 amateur draft, has put together a stellar nine-year major league
Prior to making it to the big leagues, Hafner helped lead the 1996 Tiger
baseball team to the program’s first trip to the NJCAA College
World Series and a record of 51-13.
He followed up the success of his freshman season by leading the Tiger
baseball team to the first of back-to-back national championships in
1997. Hafner, who was named a Third-Team All-American, still holds the
school-record for runs batted in in a season (82), runs batted in in
a career (161), doubles in a season (21), and doubles in a career (36).
After one season with the Rangers, Hafner was traded to the Cleveland
Indians. In nine big league seasons, Hafner has belted 176 home runs,
and driven in 603 runs, while batting .281.
Hafner’s best season came in 2006, when he batted .308 with a career-high
42 home runs and 117 runs batted in.
Hafner is well known for his generosity as witnessed by his donation
to the indoor practice facility. He also regularly checks in with his
former baseball coaches, Dave and Darren Burroughs, as well as Saia.
"Travis wanted to do this for Dave (Burroughs) and Darren (Burroughs)
because he appreciates what Cowley did for him," Saia said. “Travis
never forgot about Cowley. He is such a genuine, great person. I am proud to
be associated with him.”