FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Bob "Turtle" Smith ’63, former University of Maryland baseball player, and his wife, Carol B. Smith have stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam by making a major seven-figure commitment to Maryland Athletics. In honor of their gift, Maryland’s baseball stadium has been renamed Shipley Field at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium.
Bob and Carol have pledged their gift in support of the Greatness Campaign, which provides funds to those areas in athletics with the greatest need, as well as to the "Home Run Club," the support group for the Maryland baseball team.
Bob recalls the work ethic and dedication required as a starter, every year, on the baseball team; as well as the rewards of being named co-captain as a senior, and winning the Berger Cup for outstanding contributions to athletics through baseball. "These experiences had a major impact and influence on my entire life, and make me proud to have the stadium bear my name," he said.
Bob and Carol feel the timing of their gift is appropriate, partly because of the naming of new Maryland baseball head coach, Erik Bakich. "Carol and I are very excited about the direction of the baseball program with Coach Bakich at the helm. He is bringing a new enthusiasm and energy that will turn our program around."
"We share Bob and Carol’s optimism regarding the future of the Maryland baseball program. Their generosity comes at a wonderful time," said director of athletics Deborah A. Yow. "We very much admire and appreciate their commitment to our baseball program, and this gift will benefit our student-athletes for some time."
"In my brief tenure as head baseball coach, Bob and Carol have been loyal supporters of Maryland Baseball," said Bakich. "Bob and I share a vision for what we want Maryland Baseball to accomplish. One of my immediate goals is to qualify for the ACC Baseball Tournament every year, meaning we will have a chance of making the NCAA Tournament on a regular basis."
"Recruiting top talent, especially talent in the Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia area, is important to our success. Having former players and more supporters like Bob who are passionate about Maryland Baseball will help us spread the word that Maryland is committed to excellence in building and maintaining a first-class program."
The Smiths have gone to bat before for the Maryland baseball program. In December 2007, Bob and Carol established the Robert W. and Carol B. Smith and Family Endowed Baseball Scholarship. This was the first fully funded scholarship for the exclusive use by the baseball program.
Bob recalls, "Because of my business education, I’ve had success in the corporate world as a VP of two Fortune 50 companies; and for the last 22 years as an entrepreneur in commercial real estate. I’ve told my family and friends many times, that without the baseball scholarship that enabled me to attend and graduate from the University of Maryland, I never would have had such success. As a result, I was only too pleased to give back to the University, and the baseball team; by gifting the first endowment that created a full baseball scholarship."
Bob and Carol would like to encourage former Terp baseball players to get involved with the program by making a donation to endow or partially endow additional scholarships for baseball, or make an annual gift to the "Home Run Club." Bob would appreciate talking with former players and friends of Maryland Baseball about they can get involved.
"I’m very proud of Maryland, and I want to see Maryland Baseball become a force in the ACC and the NCAA," Bob said. "There is tremendous energy surrounding the team and I would love for everyone who has ever been associated with Maryland Baseball to be part of the excitement."
In appreciation for Bob and Carol Smith’s significant gift, Maryland Athletics is honored to pay tribute to their support with the official naming of Shipley Field at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium.
A formal dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be scheduled in the spring of 2010. Details of that important event will be forthcoming. If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact Don Miller, Senior Director of Development, Maryland Athletics, at 301-314-7073 or by email at [email protected]