Largest ever gift to Cowley College tomake 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 multipurpose 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 career.
Prior to making it to the big leagues, Hafner helped lead the 1996 Tiger baseball team to 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.”
If you support Cowley College and the Tiger athletic programs, and would like to play a role in helping our student-athletes succeed on the playing field, please consider making a gift of $1,000 or more. Donors may make cash gifts over a three-year period and all gifts of $1,000 or more will be acknowledged on a permanent recognition plaque inside the indoor athletic facility.
The Endowment Association will send pledge reminders each year in the month that you designate. To make a gift that will benefit Cowley College student-athletes and the proud history of Tiger athletics, please call 620-441-5246 or 620-441-5319.