TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of Arizona baseball program has received a $1 million pledge from an anonymous donor as part of a matching gift challenge. The pledge comes after the Wildcats completed their 17th all-time College World Series appearance as national runners-up with 49 wins, the program's most in 30 years.
"This is an incredible time for our baseball program and we are excited to announce this tremendous gift," said Director of Athletics Greg Byrne. "Coach Jay Johnson, his staff and the players accomplished so much this season, and the energy and support behind the program is at an all-time high."
"This gift is a major difference-maker for our program," said Johnson. "It reaffirms to me how great it is to coach at Arizona where people care so much about our program and especially the student-athletes."
The $1 million donation and additional matching gifts will directly benefit the baseball program, including renovations to Hi Corbett Field, fan amenities and other improvements for student-athletes. Arizona moved into the historic facility in 2012 and have since been one of the national leaders in attendance, including this season when the Wildcats led the Pac-12 with an average of 3,043 fans paced by a single-game high of 8,067 in May.
"Like all of our sports, it is critical that we reinvest in our baseball success," added Byrne. "This was the second time we have been to the College World Series since we moved to Hi Corbett Field, and we want to continue competing for championships in the coming years. Support from our fans, especially Wildcat Club members, will provide us with the foundation to remain one of the nation's elite baseball programs."
Fans can join the challenge to match the gift and begin contributing immediately. The Wildcat Club staff has created a specific webpage to begin taking contributions: https://beardownchallenge.com/campaigns/arizona-baseball-match
In Johnson's first season, the Wildcats went 49-24 with their second trip to the College World Series in the last five seasons. Since joining the Pac-12 Conference, Arizona has won more baseball national championships (three) than any other league school.
Arizona Athletics is funded primarily through self-generated revenues. The majority of these revenues come from charitable gifts, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and television revenues.
Charitable gifts come from a collective group of donors that comprise the Wildcat Club. This financial support provides scholarships, state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, team travel and all the other tools that help student-athletes succeed on and off the playing surface. Anyone can join the Wildcat Club with a donation of $100 or more, which is tax deductible.
For more information call 520-621-CLUB (2582).