BY NATASHA GEIGER
On a cold and blustery 38 degree Tuesday afternoon, St. Norbert College, along with President Kunkel and Father Jay Fostner, dedicated the long awaited Mel Nicks Sports Complex. These beautiful baseball and softball fields stand side by side to host our very own men and women Green Knights. This complex has been much needed in the past seasons, with weather delays and cancelations frequently disrupting the season. Both Tim Bald and the women’s softball coach Jo Ann Krueger spoke at the dedication expressing their great passion and excitement for their new home and the future Knights who will be walking onto the fields. Coach Krueger expressed excitement over the ability to bring future softball players to the diamond, giving that extra boost to an already decorated program.
While Mel Nicks’s name graces the entrance to the complex, two other names are connected to the fields and the St. Norbert community. The baseball field was named after Larry Van Alstine who was a head coach for football here at St. Norbert College from 1979-82 and later served as an assistant coach for football, basketball and baseball. The baseball home opener was on Saturday April 4th where Van Alstine threw out the first pitch with gusto. He was also present at the dedication and he had the honor of blessing the field with tears in his eyes.
The softball diamond was named after Miron Construction and its outstanding contribution to the community. Miron Construction has been a part of the St. Norbert College community for the last ten years and has participated in the construction of many campus buildings including Mulva Library and the new GMS Science Building.
Mel Nicks passed away in 1990 but continues to leave a legacy at St. Norbert College and its athletic department. Nicks was part of the St. Norbert community for 26 years as a coach, athletics administrator, teacher and humanitarian. Many that knew Nicks personally knew that one of his dreams was for the college to have excellent baseball and softball fields; his dream has now come true. As Nicks touched everyone’s lives in the college community and left a stamp on our hearts, we will forever commemorate him and his legacy game in and game out.
I believe that I can speak for the many St. Norbert College sports fans in thanking the many donors, consultants and contractors in making this sports complex possible.