Venderly Football Complex at Ball State ready in 2015
New team facility keeps BSU competitive in recruiting
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, INDIANA (SPORTS) - Ron and Joan Venderly attend every Ball State University.football game, give thousands towards athletics and academics and will be the namesake of the new Football Team Complex.
The university gathered its big money donors Thursday to break ground on the new complex that will provide team meeting space and offices for coaches and staff next to the John and Janice Fisher Football Training Complex.
"We cannot wait for football season to start," said Rick Hall, president of the Ball State Board of trustees. The season starts at home Aug. 30 with Colgate.
Venderly, a retired vice president at Merrill Lynch, and a former educator, hoped his family's donation would make Ball State competitive with other schools that have large facilities to recruit players for football.
Just this week, Ball State added two national transfers to the football rooster, Julian Jackson, graduate El Camino Community College in California, and Notre Dame graduate Bruce Heggie. Jackson was on an All-Central Conference team at El Camino and was Outstanding Athlete of the Year when he graduated from Beverly Hills High School in California.
BSU Coach Pete Lembo called the groundbreaking a pretty exciting day to expand the football complex and provide support for "great young men in the football program."
The facility, built with private money and not tax funds, will be great front porch to the program, Lembo said, next to the training facility that had also been used for meeting and offices.'
Lembo said other Mid-America Conference teams had bigger and better facilities to recruit players and meet with supporters.
With recent winning seasons, and back to back bowl appearances, Ball State officials believe it is time to improve the Scheumann Stadium complex.
BSU President JoAnn Gora, retiring in 10 days, said the Cardinal Commitment capital campaign had been a success with $19.2 million raised of the $20 million goal with six months left to go. And she encouraged donors to exceed the $20 million
That campaign also helps improve baseball, soccer and golf facilities where recent MAC championships have been found.
Gora also thanked other donors like Mutual Bank CEO and President Dave Heeter, Frances LaRue, Sue Whitacre, John and Jane Scheumann and Gene and Sue Booker for supporting Ball State athletics,
Venderly, 86, has been a driving force in athletic fundraising besides establishing endowment scholarships for more than 30 Ball State students from Fort Wayne and Allen County. He also is a member of he campaign committee and the couple of leadership benefactors.
As Venderly said, he would give to Ball State as long as he was able. The project will get underway this summer and be ready for the 2015 season.