Freed-Hardeman University hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Five Wells Field Saturday, April 15, at 11:15 am Steve and Judy Wells, Clifton, Texas, have been instrumental in improvements made at the baseball field since Fall 2009, including construction of Dan Kirkland Wells Field House and additional bleachers and, most recently, the installation of a turf playing surface.
“The partnership Steve and Judy Wells have forged with our baseball program over the years has allowed us to transform our baseball facility into one of the nicest in the country,” Jonathan Estes, athletic director and former FHU baseball coach, said. “They have helped to turn ‘The Swamp’ into the Taj Mahal.” Speaking of the relationships forged and the growth and development of players, Estes continued, “I think Five Wells Field is where God does some of His most important work.”
Dan Kirkland Wells, a 1956 alumnus of Freed-Hardeman College, was the manager and scorekeeper for the Lions as a student. A lover of baseball, he wrote many sports articles for his local newspaper, the Union City Messenger. For many years, he suffered from a crippling disease; he died in 1983 at age 47. The field house honors his memory.
In addition to Steve and Judy Wells, other members of the family including Dansby Wells Erwin, Cayce Wells McCormick, Emma McCormick and Ran Wells attended the ceremony cutting the ribbon and re-naming of the field.
Quoting Tommy Lasorda, former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, FHU President David R. Shannon, said, ‘There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.’ I submit to you, the Wells family is in the first category.”
Steve Wells said, “My brother would be amazed to see his name on that building and grateful that his family still supports Freed-Hardeman baseball.”
ATG Sports installed RamTurf during Summer 2021. Billed as the safest turf in the industry, it provides optimal shock attenuation and natural rotational resistance, along with heat reduction technology. With a properly trained staff and minimal equipment, the field can be maintained in less than two hours weekly. It is expected to last for more than 3,000 days. RamTurf looks and performs like natural turf at its best.
Improvements of the baseball complex were a part of FHU NEXT, a highly successful fundraising campaign that has also funded resurfacing of the basketball court and improvements on the softball and soccer fields.
“Every team and visiting fan comment I have heard has been overwhelmingly positive about how good the field looks and the amazing things that have happened to our facility over the years,” Estes said. “Thousands of fans have been able to enjoy watching a great brand of baseball at a beautiful facility. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Steve and Judy Wells and their commitment to this program.”
FHU, a member of the NAIA, competes in the Mid-South Conference. The baseball team has advanced to the national tournament seven times, including two trips to the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. They ended the 2018 season as runner-up to the national champion.
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associates, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.