Turning a Double Play

A $1.6 million gift from Herb and Elinor Nootbaar will support the university and the campaign to restore Dedeaux Field.

HERB AND ELINOR NOOTBAAR, longtime supporters of USC, have donated a $1.6 million gift annuity to the university, half of which will go toward the renovation of Dedeaux Field, USC’s baseball stadium.
“Dedeaux Field hasn’t been improved since it was first built,” said athletic director Mike Garrett. “The generosity of the Nootbaars has put us closer to realizing our dream. We’re enormously grateful.”
Baseball coach Mike Gillespie, who has to recruit against schools with beautiful new stadiums, was elated.
“This extraordinary gift will give great impetus to our renovation project,” Gilles-pie said. “A remodeled Dedeaux Field will enable us to compete on a more level playing field, particularly in recruiting. Our program deserves no less.”
The Nootbaars, who are currently life members of Cardinal and Gold, have been athletic donors for many years. Their donation is the largest gift so far for the renovation of the stadium.
“We met Coach Gillespie and his players in the fall of 1998, a few months after they had won the national championship, and we were very impressed,” Herb Nootbaar said.
“Mike is the caliber of man that anyone would want his own kids to play for. He’s the kind of person I’d like to call a friend. I said to Elinor that if we ever got a chance to help the program, we should.”

THE PAVILLION on the first base side of the park will be named for Herb Nootbaar and will include coaching offices, the USC Baseball Hall of Fame, the home team clubhouse and lounge, VIP boxes, a rooftop deck for viewing and an elevator. The USC clubhouse area will be twice as large as the old facility.
USC baseball teams have won 12 national championships, 11 under Rod Dedeaux and one, two years ago, under Gillespie.


Talking Football – Present and Past

A recent visitor to USC was one of its oldest graduates and former football players, Jim Pursell ’23, who last saw the campus during the 1984 Olympics. Pursell – a letter-man on the Trojan team that played in the first game in the Los Angeles Coliseum, in the first game at the Rose Bowl, and in the first Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl – was greeted by football coach Paul Hackett (left) in the trophy room of Heritage Hall, where they discussed the upcoming football season and Pursell’s recollections of playing for Coach Elmer “Gloomy Gus” Henderson, whose bust the two men flank.
After graduating from USC, Pursell went on to a successful career as a high school track and football coach. He will celebrate his 100th birthday August 20, and was grateful to be able to travel from his home in Leisure World to see the campus. “This visit to USC was a very emotional experience for me,” he said. “But the campus has changed so much I hardly knew where I was.”

 

 


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Pursell photo by Patrick Blasa

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