” Money well invested, for me, always goes back to the players,” says Arizona baseball head coach Jay Johnson. The Wildcats opened up their first day of practice, with a look at the brand-new Terry Francona Hitting Center. Francona donated $1 million dollars to the university for this purpose last January.
And Arizona baseball has invested in their future. “It's hard to leave just because it's new, and you have everything you need in here,” says junior Cal Stevenson. “We do homework, watch sporting events here and enjoy a lot of our time here.” I would never leave the facility, if I were a student athlete in this program. Many Major League Clubhouse’s aren’t as nice as the Wildcats new facility.
The hitting facility has 4 cages, a bunting station and a new bullpen, among other features. And many of the guys find themselves here at all hours of the night. “If a place is nice, they want to be here more,” says Johnson. “Our whole program is built around wanting them to get to the field as much as they can.”
Johnson sees it playing a factor in future recruits as well, and how could it not. Plus, having legends like Terry Francona still contributing to the program and former Wildcat Trevor Hoffman inducted in to the Hall of Fame this week doesn’t hurt either. “I couldn't thank Terry enough if I wanted to,” says Johnson. “Guys like Terry, who still give back to our program to the University of Arizona, it's awesome,” says Stevenson. “Just because of who they are and where they come from, and we couldn't be more thankful for it.”
Arizona opens up their season on February 16th at Hi Corbett Field.