WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota will break ground this May on a new $704,000 baseball clubhouse, made possible by a generous lead gift from an alumnus.
In honor of his experiences at Saint Mary’s, both in school and on the field‚ particularly under the guidance of Hall of Fame Coach Max Molock, Marc Weisenburger ’75 of Plymouth, Minn., made the lead gift toward the 2,500-square-foot facility, which will be located on the south side of the Gostomski Fieldhouse. The clubhouse will include:
- a locker room with 46 locker stalls
- a players’ lounge with spaces for athletes to study, have team meetings, and enjoy quiet time
- big screen TVs, a ping pong table and gaming area
- a coaches’ space
- bathrooms and a shower facility
- a laundry facility
The clubhouse will be named “Pudge’s Place” after Weisenburger’s nickname from his playing days as a catcher with the Saint Mary’s baseball team from 1971 to 1975.
Weisenburger said he was inspired by the way benefactors supported the university’s new Science and Learning Center. “People are willing to get behind something if they see others forging ahead,” he said. “I wanted to see how Saint Mary’s baseball program could have a difference maker. I wanted to see what we could create that would differentiate Saint Mary’s baseball program from other MIAC baseball programs. This creates value around the baseball program, and it allows us to compete against larger schools with bigger budgets.
“In the end, when you see a student’s excitement, it could be a difference maker for a student to want to be part of the legacy created by Max Molock during his 42 years of leading the baseball program,” Weisenburger added. “That’s always the foundation. It always gets back to Max and the foundation he created. That’s what makes it special, but you have to continue to invest in the tradition.”
Nick Winecke ’07, associate athletic director and head coach of the Saint Mary’s baseball team, called the new addition to Cardinal athletic facilities “a game changer.”
“This clubhouse will help us competitively,” Winecke said. “It will be something very special to Saint Mary’s. The opportunity to differentiate ourselves in a positive way and give our athletes a space they can use year-round to study in, and to learn from one another in, and to grow in is a big thing.”
Winecke is also proud that of the 46 lockers to be located in Pudge’s Place, 35 have already been sponsored by Saint Mary’s alumni athletes, many of whom have graduated within the past 10 years. The cost to sponsor a locker was set at $2,000, but several alumni, Winecke said, have made gifts over the minimum sponsorship amount — further proof that Saint Mary’s alumni cherish their experiences and want to help future student-athletes have the same great experience.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Winecke said, adding that “the clubhouse is part of a bigger plan for enhancing Saint Mary’s athletics, and another welcomed and visible example of what is possible on campus when generous benefactors contribute to athletic facilities and programs.”
Ultimately, Winecke said, the clubhouse project is possible because of Weisenburger’s passion for Saint Mary’s. “Marc has been a big supporter of our program for the past 10 years,” Winecke said. “It’s about developing people, and this is one way he believes he can help us develop strong leaders.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the baseball clubhouse is invited to contact Winecke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-457-7231. They can also donate online at smumn.edu/giving.
CAPTION: Saint Mary’s baseball alumni including lead donor Marc Weisenburger ’75 (front row, center left) are funding a new clubhouse on campus. This photo also depicts legendary coach Max Molock, back right, with his 1972 championship baseball team.