Mary Bowers Field
The Blazer softball team opened its facilities on Feb. 23, 2010, and on March 1, 2016, dedicated its home stadium as Mary Bowers Field in grateful recognition of gifts given by Mary and Keith A. Bowers to support the softball program and softball head coach Marla Townsend, who began it.
"Mary is the reason we decided to give this gift," Mr. Bowers said. "She was quite an athlete in her day. We started going to athletic events when we started going together, and she got me into women's sports, showing me they can be just as athletic as men. We supported UAB Athletics for nearly 30 years. Through this, Mary became friends with Marla Townsend and decided that with these funds she wanted to help provide an optimum experience for UAB's student-athletes."
Mr. and Mrs. Bowers enjoyed 50 years of marriage before she passed away Dec. 13, 2009. Mr. Bowers was recognized during a dedication ceremony of the field that now bears his wife's name.
"I am eternally grateful to the Bowers family and to Mary for the support and inspiration she gave our team during her life and still today," Townsend said. "The UAB softball family is humbled that we have the opportunity to pay tribute to Mary and perpetuate her life and incredible legacy every time we take this field in Birmingham."
The complex is adjacent to and south of the UAB baseball facility, Jerry D. Young Memorial Field, sitting in between 11th Street South and 12th Street South.
The facility includes a state-of-the-art scoreboard with video capability and a 13.5 x 17 foot screen. The expansion of the stadium features a new press box and added 660 more seats to hold 1,010 fans, including 100 premium seats. The premium seats will be located directly behind home plate and will offer back support on the chairs.
The dugouts each house approximately 500 square feet of space, including one restroom, while the bullpens for each team are located on the corners of the outfield just past each dugout. The space is comfortable for two pitchers to be able to warm up at any given time.
The press box features a working area for gameday staff that includes housing of the scoreboard/video board controls, sound system controls and the public address announcer microphone. The area also has both phone and data capabilities for gameday operation and visiting media.
The scoreboards, produced by industry leader Daktronics, utilize LED technology to provide additional information and video capabilities, instant replay capabilities and expanded inventory opportunities for corporate partners.
The softball scoreboard features static spaces for sponsor advertisements, as well as plenty of opportunities to rotate picture and video graphics on the 13.5 x 17 foot video board.
"This permanent recognition of Mary Bowers will sustain her legacy in a fitting way that is meaningful to her family, our coaches and our team," UAB Director of Athletics Mark Ingram said. "Each of our athletic programs needs support, and we work hard to connect our donors' generosity with projects they are passionate about. I personally thank Keith for his and Mary's support."
Since moving into its new facility, UAB has earned a spot in the NCAA tournament in five of its last eight seasons. In May 2012, the facility hosted the Conference USA Softball Championship and is set to host the tournament again in 2019.