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Director of Development
Intercollegiate Athletics
UI Foundation News
500 Levitt Center for University Advancement
Iowa City IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-3305 or (800) 648-6973
Head Coad, University of Iowa Baseball
Phone: (319) 335-9390

Release: June 27, 2001

Chicago White Sox pitcher Cal Eldred, family fund lighting for UI baseball

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Cal Eldred is lighting up Hawkeye baseball once again. But this time, instead of employing his expert pitching, the major-league star and his wife, Christi, are making a gift to fund the installation of lights at the UI's Duane Banks Field. The Cedar Rapids couple are giving $245,000 over two years to install lights at the baseball field named after Cal Eldred's former coach, the UI Foundation has announced.

The gift, the largest ever from a current professional athlete's family to UI athletics, allows the project to be completed by this September. The Hawkeyes' first night games will be played in the spring 2002 season.

UI Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby hailed the Eldreds' generosity, saying, "Cal and Christi's gift shows that once you're a Hawkeye, you're always a Hawkeye. Cal has been representing Iowa well for years, first with the Milwaukee Brewers and now with the Chicago White Sox, and has been making us all proud. But the fact that he and Christi have remained true to their Iowa roots in this very generous way makes us even prouder."

Iowa baseball coach Scott Broghamer noted that the Eldreds' gift is another chapter in their long association with baseball in the state. "I coached Cal when he played for Urbana High School in the mid-1980s, and he and Christi have been Hawkeye supporters for years," Broghamer said. "This gift will make our field one of the finest anywhere. We're very excited and grateful."

The Eldreds cited their desire to give back to the UI and to honor former Hawkeye coach Banks and current coach Broghamer—who they said are their good friends and longtime mentors—as reasons for making the gift. The gift will be commemorated by a plaque at the field.

Cal Eldred, who grew up in Urbana and attended the UI for three years before being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1989, said, "My experience at Iowa helped shape me as a player and as a person. And Coach Banks has stayed involved in my life and has always been there for me. I couldn't be happier about making this gift for Hawkeye baseball. I hope others will consider helping out however they can."

Christi Eldred, originally of Center Point, graduated from the UI with a B.A. degree in history in 1993. "The UI was always so supportive of me when I was in school during Cal's first years in the pros, and the Hawkeye experience has shaped our lives in so many wonderful ways," she said. "We want to raise our kids with Iowa values, and this gift is one way of affirming our commitment to everything Iowa means to us."

Cal Eldred led the Hawkeyes in innings pitched in 1988 and in strikeouts in 1989. He is currently on the disabled list with the Chicago White Sox, after helping lead them into the 2000 playoffs with a 10-2 record.

The baseball field lights will be installed by Musco Lighting of Oskaloosa.

The Eldreds' gift is part of the university's planned comprehensive campaign to advance the UI's strategic goals for the years 2000-2005. The campaign will be conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation and will raise funds to substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty chairs and professorships; fund outreach and service programs to benefit individuals, families, and communities throughout the state of Iowa; support new educational and research facilities; build the UI's endowment; and launch new initiatives in the arts, sciences, business, health care, athletics and recreation and other fields. The UI Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions to all areas of the university.