NORMAN, Okla. — Love's Travel Stops made a decisive push forward on the University of Oklahoma's new softball stadium, the university's athletic department announced Thursday.
Love's donated $9 million toward the project and pledged to match every other donation dollar from other donors up to an additional $3 million to go toward the field.
The donation is the largest philanthropic gift directed toward a women's-specific sports program in the university's history.
"As life-long Oklahomans, investing in the community, specifically the University of Oklahoma and its softball program, is something we're proud to do," said Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer and executive vice president of Love's.
"What Patty Gasso has accomplished in not only her tenure at OU, but for women's college softball, is awe-inspiring. The program she's built aligns with Love's core values of integrity, perseverance and strong work ethic, and the world was able to see that as they won the 2021 Women's College World Series. We are proud to have our name associated with this program and the new stadium that's so well deserved by the team."
Patty Gasso has been Oklahoma's softball coach for the last 27 seasons, earning a 1,335-341-2 record — a winning percentage of .792 which is the highest among coaches with at least 1,000 games coached.
Under Gasso, OU has won five national championships, including the 2021 title, and 20 conference championships, including the last nine regular season and last four post-season tournament championships.
"I can't put into words how grateful I am and our program is for the generosity of Love's Travel Stops and the Love family," Gasso said.
"They share our championship mindset and have embraced not only the success of our program, but the culture we've built among our student-athletes and fans. They also recognize that for us to maintain the level of excellence we've achieved, we must be a national leader in all aspects of our program, including our facility. Love's is empowering women to reach the absolute pinnacle of achievement while inspiring the next generation to look to the future with the biggest dream. As we see at a moment like this, dreams really do come true."
Love's Field includes a 10,500-square-foot indoor training facility, which is nearly double the size of the current training space, and several team spaces, including a training room, locker room and classroom.
It will be built at the northwest corner of South Jenkins Avenue and Imhoff Road, about one-half mile south of the current stadium location. It will accommodate seating for 3,000 and is being designed to allow for expansion.
Parking will be at the existing paved lot at Lloyd Noble Center, which is across the street to the south of the new site.
According to OU, the minimum estimates for Love's Field currently stand at about $27 million, $20 million of which has been raised through the Sooner Club
Groundbreaking is expected to happen in 2022 with an opening planned for the 2024 season.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere --