Release courtesy of Earlham College
RICHMOND, IN — An alumnus who played
baseball on one of the College's finest teams has pledged a million
dollars to build Earlham's new on-campus baseball facility.
Last year, head baseball coach Steve Sakosits' Quakers posted their best winning percentage since 1971. Now, thanks to Randy Sadler '73, a member of that 1971 squad, Earlham will have a facility to showcase the revitalized team.
Sadler was a three-sport athlete in high school and was originally recruited to play football at Earlham, but, he says candidly, “being a 5'9”, 160 lb. tight end, it hurt to play football; so I asked Coach Rick Carter if I could play baseball instead. He was the coach of both sports, and he found out I was a decent baseball player, so that's how it happened.”
Sadler pitched for the Quakers while double majoring in Physics and Mathematics.
After graduation, Sadler received his Ohio Teacher's Certificate and began teaching math and coaching three sports at Cincinnati's Sycamore High School. Sadler admits to leaving teaching after five years because he found that he could make more money elsewhere, but he enjoyed coaching and working with young people so much that he continued to coach football for 12 years and coached baseball “until I was 50.”
Since 1985, Sadler has been the President and COO of PROWARE, which provides information technology to medium and large court systems. In 1999, the computerized case management system developed by PROWARE for the Hamilton Co. [OH] Clerk of Courts was the recipient of the prestigious Computerworld Smithsonian Laureate Award for outstanding examples of information technology being implemented to better serve society.
Sadler's diverse business interests also include a golf course, a dry cleaner and a landscaping company. He is also a financial advisor and a stockbroker. In 2012, Sadler and a business partner received a patent for Solstreme, a unique water purification system that uses ultraviolet light to kill microbes and produce drinking water. Solstreme is currently deployed in Sudan, Niger and Kenya and he expects that soon it will be ready for rapid deployment in areas that have been ravaged by natural disasters.
Field of Dreams
Never one to shy away from telling others how important his Earlham experience was in shaping his values, Sadler hadn't included the College in his philanthropic giving until he received a newsletter from Sakosits several years ago.
What made Sadler respond? “He asked,” Sadler said, noting that no baseball coach had contacted him with news of the team.
Several years later, after he had reconnected with the team, Sadler says that he asked Sakosits if he needed help with anything else. “I was thinking about bats. Or uniforms,” he recalls, laughing.
Sakosits said they would like a baseball facility on campus.
When he recounted the exchange to his wife, Melissa, “she said, 'You're always talking about Earlham and how they made you and how it was the best thing that ever happened to you, so do it.' So, I thought about it, I met with [Earlham President] David Dawson a few times and then I decided that I'd fund it.”
Extraordinary Recruiting Tool
Thanks to Sadler's million dollar gift, sharing Richmond's John Cate Field at Don McBride Stadium with Richmond High School, community organizations and the Prospect League's Richmond RiverRats will end when the Quakers square off against Kalamazoo College in their first home stand on March 8, 2014 in the new Randal R. Sadler Baseball Stadium, to be located between Darrell Beane Stadium and the Suzanne Hoerner Jackson Equestrian Center.
“Having an on-campus baseball facility will create enthusiasm within the program,” says Athletic Director Mike Bergum. “The synthetic turf field will provide additional opportunities throughout the athletic department and recreational sports area, as well as providing a tie to the community.”
Coach Sakosits says that having the facility will be an extraordinary recruiting tool for Earlham, a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
“The facility will help us build this program into one of the top [NCAA Division III] baseball programs. Our goal is not only to attract the best student athletes in Indiana and our bordering states, but nationwide as well.”
“The recruited student athlete who visits Earlham,” continues Sakosits, “will now know that they will receive one of the best liberal arts educations in the country and be able to play in one of the country's best facilities. Earlham Baseball is extremely thankful for Randy Sadler's generosity and for the College's efforts to make this project a reality.
The New Earlham Landscape
“Earlham's baseball program will finally have a facility to showcase our talented team,” says President David Dawson. “And that's all thanks to Randy. We've been playing baseball at Earlham since 1887 — longer than any other sport — and it's time that we have a stadium on campus where our entire community can gather to cheer them on.”
Dawson notes that construction on the Sadler Stadium will begin this spring in the midst of one of the College's most ambitious eras of transformation.
“We've already completed upgrades to the football stadium, we are now renovating both Stanley and Tyler halls, we are set to break ground on the new Visual and Performing Arts building shortly and now we will also add this additional athletics facility to the mix. To anyone who visits Earlham,” says Dawson, “there's no doubt that we're serious about making this place the very best it can be.”