Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex: Alumni Field
RENOVATED: 1992, 1998, 2008, 2014 (Donald R. Shepherd Softball Center)
FIRST GAME: May 3, 1982
Western Michigan 5, U-M 0
The University of Michigan softball program's stadium received a complete makeover after the close of the 2007 season, with renovations to provide fans with a cozy viewing environment that establishes the park as one of the nation's elite sites for competition. Modernizations to the new baseball and softball complex were funded largely by the Judy and Fred Wilpon Family Foundation, which covered $4 million of the $5.5 million softball project.
Additions to Alumni Field include a new indoor hitting facility, press box and media facility, restrooms, concession area, and seating accommodations. U-M inserted an impressive 1,800-seat grandstand complemented by outfield bleachers holding an additional 1,000 seats. The two constructs double the capacity of a stadium that has hosted countless sellout crowds over its tenure.
The allotment also provided for the expansion of the Donald R. Shepherd Softball Building that sits behind the stadium, featuring a new, larger athletic training space and team gathering room, as well as the establishment of a pedestrian plaza at the park's entrance.
Alumni Field, formerly known as "Varsity Diamond," has been the site of 17 NCAA Regional tournaments and four NCAA Super Regionals, which operated as the launching point for the Wolverines' 2005 national championship. Renovated and landscaped for the 1992 season, Alumni Field is located in the heart of the University's Athletic Campus. New outfield grass and an infield/outfield drainage system were completed following the 1998 season. The outfield is now laced with an irrigation and watering system that provides for a lush playing surface and a quick drying system.
Before the 2014 season, AstroTurf was installed in Alumni Field's outfield to provide a more consistent playing surface. The start of the 2014 season also brought new enhancements to the Wilpon Complex, including a brand-new, three-story Donald R. Shepherd Softball Center and state-of-the-art video board in left field. The Shepherd Center was built on the footprint of the previous softball building (1998), but now includes a museum, coaches offices, improved training facilities including hydrotherapy, more team meeting space and a fitness room.
The first Michigan game played on the present-day site was May 3, 1982, vs. Western Michigan University; the Wolverines split the doubleheader, losing the opener (5-0) and winning the nightcap (2-1). Michigan played its 300th game at the home complex April 5, 1998, posting a 4-3 victory over Ohio State University in the milestone contest. The Wolverines recorded their 250th Alumni Field victory with a 4-1 win vs. Minnesota on April 9, 2000.
Temporary lights were installed when the Maize and Blue hosted the 2002 NCAA Regional, and lights became a permanent fixture in 2003. The first college softball ever played under the lights at Alumni Field was an NCAA Regional matchup between Ohio State and Central Michigan on May 16, 2002, but that game was suspended due to weather and was completed the next day. As a result, the first-ever game completed under the lights at Alumni Field was at the same regional the next day as top seed Washington earned a 4-1 win over Central Michigan on May 17, 2002.
The Wolverines went through the 2002 NCAA Regional unscathed at 4-0, but as a result never had the opportunity to play under the lights at their own field. That opportunity came the following spring on April 15, 2003, when Michigan played its first-ever home night game at Alumni Field in a doubleheader vs. Eastern Michigan.
Address and Directions
Alumni Field 1202 S. State St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104
From Detroit Metro Airport and points east: Take I-94 west to State Street (exit 177). Turn right. Travel north approximately 2 1/4 miles through two stoplights. Turn left just past Schembechler Hall into parking lot. Alumni Field is located just west of Schembechler Hall.
From Chicago and points west: Take I-94 east to State Street (exit 177). Turn left. Travel north approximately 2 1/4 miles through three stoplights. Turn left just past Schembechler Hall into parking lot. Alumni Field is located just west of Schembechler Hall.
From Toledo and points south: Take U.S. 23 north to I-94 west. Follow directions from Detroit Metro Airport.
From Flint and points north: Take U.S. 23 south to I-94 west. Follow directions from Detroit Metro Airport.