April 17, 2013
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Weekend Series Preview
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- As Purdue baseball welcomes Nebraska to campus for the first time since 1907, a special Alexander Field dedication ceremony is set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. before game two of the Big Ten weekend series.
Former Purdue student-athlete, head coach and athletics administrator Dave Alexander will be the guest of honor Saturday and one of three featured speakers before the 7:05 p.m. game. Fifth-year senior Robert Ramer, who has already earned his bachelor's degree and is currently pursuing a master's, will speak on behalf of the current Purdue players regarding what the new stadium means to them. Director of Athletics Morgan Burke will also address the crowd during the pregame ceremony, which will be emceed by associate athletics director for communications Tom Schott.
Alexander Field is named in honor of the late John and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander. The Alexanders were the parents of Dave Alexander, who provided the lead gift for the project. Dave was Purdue baseball coach from 1978 to 1991 and then served as an athletics administrator through 1994. He is currently a scout for the Seattle Mariners.
Dave Alexander's Purdue classmate and fraternity brother, Chuck Armstrong, will also be in attendance this weekend. Armstrong, a 1964 Purdue graduate, is the current president of the Seattle Mariners. He will lead the crowd in a singing of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the middle of the seventh inning Saturday. Former WLFI TV sportscaster Ken Double will perform the song on an organ live at the ballpark to accompany Armstrong and the crowd's singing.
Saturday, Dave Alexander will also be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch after the stadium dedication. A commemorative home plate cover has been created to mark the occasion. The bases will also feature the special stadium dedication logo and be auctioned off later this season.
Fans are encouraged to arrive at the ballpark early this weekend. The northwest edge of campus will be a busy place with women's tennis also hosting a pair of home matches (Friday and Sunday) and the annual Grand Prix festivities also being held at the track adjacent to Alexander Field.
Purdue athletics announced this week that there will be increased security at all home events in response to the bombings at the Boston Marathon Monday. All bags carried in by spectators will be searched, and a uniformed police officer will be visible at all venues. With other events and security measures in the mix, fans are encouraged to allot themselves additional time to arrive on time for Saturday's stadium dedication ceremony.
For Purdue baseball fans that live on campus, a free student shuttle will be making a loop from campus to Alexander Field throughout the game Friday and Saturday. The shuttle will pick up and drop off at the Purdue Memorial Union, Earhart Hall, Ford Dining Court and Alexander Field. Friday and Saturday's games begin at 7 p.m. The shuttle will begin its campus loop at 5:45 p.m. and run through the end of the game.
April 18 Update: Purdue athletics will also be offering a free shuttle for all fans on Saturday from 6-10 p.m. from the R Lot north of Ross-Ade Stadium to Alexander Field. With the heavy amounts of rain this week, parking along Cherry Lane is expected to be limited due to mud.
Nebraska baseball is visiting West Lafayette for Big Ten action for the first time. The Boilermakers won two-of-three in their first-ever visit to Haymarket Park in Lincoln a year ago. Friday's game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network as the second of Purdue's four games on the BTN over the span of three weekends.
Dave Alexander lettered in baseball for the Boilermakers from 1960 to 1962 before earning a bachelor's degree in 1962 and a master's degree in 1964. He retired as the winningest baseball coach in Purdue history with 407 victories, a marked surpassed by one his players, Doug Schreiber, in 2012. Dave's 1986 team -- on which Schreiber was a senior second team All-Big Ten second baseman -- set a then-school record with 37 wins, and his 1987 squad participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. He coached many quality student-athletes, and all but one of them who exhausted his eligibility earned a degree. Dave was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.
After leaving coaching in 1991, Dave spent two and a half years as the athletics department's compliance officer before becoming a scout for the Seattle Mariners. A John Purdue Club member since 1963, Dave continues to live in Lafayette, Ind., and scout for the Mariners.
John and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander, both Purdue graduates, believed in the value of intercollegiate athletic competition and saw it as a way of enhancing leadership. They also believed in service and supporting others.
John was a partner in the Indianapolis law firm Krieg, DeVault, Alexander and Capehart and was a leading authority on banking legislation in the state. He was president of the Purdue Alumni Association from 1953 to 1955. His uncle, Dr. Clarence Jones, was instrumental in the selection of the Old Oaken Bucket as the traveling trophy for the annual Purdue-Indiana football game.
Anna Margaret was an active community leader in Indianapolis, particularly with the schools. She was a member of the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1966 to 1970, serving as president in 1969 and 1970. In 1984, she was the first recipient of the Purdue Alumni Association Citizenship Award.
John earned a bachelor's degree in 1933, while Anna Margaret earned a bachelor's degree in 1935. Both received honorary doctorates in 1986. The Alexanders were members of the Purdue President's Council and inaugural members of the John Purdue Club in 1958-59.
A complete series preview of Purdue-Nebraska will be available later this week.