Saturday marked a big victory for the University of Dallas baseball program. And not because the 2011-12 baseball team won a scrimmage 12-5.
The score, in fact, was irrelevant because the game was played between the current squad and a team comprised of UD baseball alumni. The presence of at least 36 alumni at the University of Dallas was of great significance.
The Alumni Baseball Game was preceded by a ceremony honoring four individuals who have contributed greatly to the baseball program. Dave “SuperDave” Lemire; former UD Baseball head coach and Hall of Famer James Vilade; Athletics Director Dick Strockbine; and President Thomas Keefe were each named Crusader Baseball Players for life.
The ceremony continued as the baseball program retired uniform #44, the number worn by Coach Al Ogletree, head coach at the University of Dallas from 1955-65. Ogletree played a prominent role at the University of Dallas, where he helped start intercollegiate athletics while coaching both the baseball and basketball teams. Several members of Ogletree’s teams were honored in the ceremony as well.
Gary Morris (1961-64), Troy Miller (1961-1963) and Rufe Brewton (1957-59) were all honored as they stood on the infield grass. Miller and Brewton both spoke about Ogletree’s character on the field and off the field.
Vilade, head coach at the University of Dallas from 1998-2001, was recognized for bringing baseball back to the University of Dallas after an 18-year absence.
After a speech from Vilade, Keefe threw the honorary first pitch. After walking to the front of the mound, Keefe wasted no time by quickly throwing a strike to head coach Fraser Holmes.
As earlier stated, the presence of these alumni on the University of Dallas campus is very exciting for the baseball program and the university as a whole. Connecting alumni to current students and the campus is important in building the endowment and baseball program.
This support will ensure that athletics at the University of Dallas “reinforce strong characteristic ideals into student-athletes so that they may achieve great success in an educationally sound environment.” And that is something which Coach Ogletree and supporters of the University of Dallas and the baseball program would surely like to see.