There will soon be a new $3.5 million baseball training facility on campus, but it’s only the first step in future director of baseball Terry McKaig’s vision.
The new 12,500 square foot facility, scheduled to open September 2015, is funded by an anonymous donor and will be next to the current baseball field. The facility will be both for varsity and youth league use. McKaig hopes the next development for the baseball program will be an $8 million, 1,000-seat stadium.
“He is totally driven to succeed.... When we were talking about the training facility and saw that it was going to come through, I think it took (McKaig) about two days to tell me about his next project,” said UBC president Arvind Gupta. “It took him about two days to say, 'Arvind, we need a baseball stadium. let’s start a fundraising campaign.'”
McKaig said he plans to start that campaign next month. He hopes for it to be a state-of-the-art facility with a moveable pitcher's mound and fence so it can accommodate varsity, international and youth games.
“I’m really looking forward to making this into something that is the envy of every college and university in North America,” said McKaig, who will be taking on his new role following 18 years as the head coach of the baseball program.
These new facilities come after baseball was given hybrid status following the controversial sports review.
“The review process … it wasn’t the easiest thing for people to go through, but the one thing I’ll say from baseball’s point of view is that change was needed ... and what the review to me was, it was good timing. The status quo didn’t work any more,” said McKaig.
McKaig is hopeful about the effect the new facilities will have on recruitment, which he said is a matter of how much scholarship money the program offers, what facilities it has and who the coaches are.
“This nails all three. Which is why our recruiting will go to a level we never had. If we have full ride scholarships to offer, true full rides, in a $12 million complex with better coaching than what we’ve had in the past, it’s going to be a legit deal,” said McKaig. “18 draft picks in 18 years, well in the next 18 years we’ll have 50 draft picks, that’s what we’re going to be capable of doing here.”
McKaig said that while the university supports the development, the program itself will be responsible for raising the revenue to build the new stadium and fund itself.
“This is wanted right from the start, this opportunity of building our own facilities, operating them, making theses revenues to put back into the program. We will have a baseball program far superior what we had up to this point,” said McKaig.
UBC is the only school in Canada with a varsity baseball program. McKaig wants to not only grow the varsity team, but foster interest in the future generations that feed into it.
“For kids to love the sport and want to keep playing it, they have to come to facilities that inspire them to dream and to want to come back,” said McKaig. “This will be their Yankee Stadium. And that’s a very powerful thing for parents, for people who want to come and watch down to the local little league kid. We want these kids to dream of playing at UBC one day.”
In addition to hosting varsity games and local youth leagues, McKaig said he is working on partnerships with the national collegiate team and the Vancouver Canadians to host national and international tournaments at the facility.
“I feel I have an obligation to Canadian baseball to show the world we can play as well as anybody else. So, my drive and determination, I think, comes from wanting to grow the game in Vancouver and B.C. and the country as big as we can grow it. That’s what I’m committed to,” McKaig said.