Prior to Methodist University’s softball team taking the field Saturday for an afternoon game against visiting Fayetteville State, the Monarchs emerged from the new, state-of-the-art Price Fieldhouse that is located just a few yards from their field.
The primary donors and namesakes for the cutting-edge facility, Don and Karen Price, were honored during a pregame ceremonial ribbon-cutting Saturday along with other lead contributors that included their daughter Kim and her husband Mark Fischer, their son Tim Price, and MU Board of Trustees member Jay Wyatt.
“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to publicly thank and recognize Don and Karen Price and the entire Price family for the generous gift that made our softball fieldhouse possible,” said Dr. Stanley T. Wearden, President at Methodist University. “This will serve our student-athletes now and for decades to come. Their naming gift is transformative in the lives and education of our softball players.”
Gifts from these and other alumni and friends of the university made it possible to build the softball fieldhouse that features a welcome lobby, offices, individual player cubbies for bats and other equipment, artificial turf flooring throughout the practice facility, and two full-size, retractable pitching and batting cages.
“The feeling on our team is one of pure excitement about this facility,” said McKenzie Lanphear, a sophomore infielder for the Monarchs. “When we found out about this building in the summer, everybody’s jaw just dropped. We’re so thankful that we’ve been given this opportunity to be able to hit and pitch and train together regardless of the weather. Not every program has an indoor facility, let alone a facility that is this nice, so it’s definitely a blessing we have it here at Methodist.”
That the Price Family led the way in supporting students at Methodist University through a project just adds to their legacy of commitment to MU and the Fayetteville community they have supported in so many ways throughout the years. Don began working at Lafayette Ford Lincoln in Fayetteville in 1965 after serving in the Air Force, and after becoming owner of the company in 1996, he has worked tirelessly to uphold community-minded business principles. At MU, he served on the board of trustees, chaired the university’s Loyalty Campaign for Student Scholarships, and has given generously in support of campus building projects and programs.
“Today means a lot to our family, because Methodist University means so much to us,” said Tim Price. “I went to college here and my dad was on the board of trustees, and it feels good to be able to contribute back to the university because they’ve given me so much. This school also means a great deal to this community, and giving to and serving in our community is very important to us.”
The opening of the Price Fieldhouse is another milestone in the successful history of the MU softball program, which boasts eight USA South championships and six NCAA Division III national tournament appearances. It’s also the latest in a number of recent upgrades to athletic facilities at MU that include: new stadium lights at Monarch Stadium (home of the football, lacrosse, and track teams), several renovated holes at the Downback Golf Course (a full 18-hole course on the MU campus), and the naming/opening of the new Duggins Soccer Stadium.
“This new building and others set us apart from others in our conference and in our area,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dave Eavenson. “We thank everyone who has donated to make this state-of-the-art facility a reality. It will serve our students well for many years to come and help continue the tradition of excellence for MU Athletics.”
After the opportunity to tour the new building and spend time with its namesakes, the Price family, Wyatt shared his valuable perspective. “Don Price was instrumental in my decision to become involved with Methodist University and encouraged me to serve as a fellow Trustee. My parents, both supporters of Methodist as well, taught me you get out of your community what you put into it, and Don Price has always been one of those examples. He is a doer, leader, and mentor to many.”