ASU’s Board of Trustees held a meeting Friday, during which members voted to honor two longtime baseball coaches, as well as a beloved Mighty Marching Hornets band director, with facilities bearing their names. The Alabama State University Board of Trustees officially named two campus facilities and approved the 2011-12 budget during a meeting held Friday, Sept. 23. The $3.9 million baseball complex, which hosted its first game last spring, was named The Wheeler-Watkins Baseball Complex in honor of Larry Watkins and the late Herbert Wheeler. Both held longtime positions as head Hornets baseball coach.
“Coach Wheeler and Coach Watkins are an important part of the legacy, history and tradition of Alabama State University,” said Stacy Danley, ASU athletics director. “They have helped shape and mold young men their entire lives and it is only fitting that we pay tribute to them by naming our baseball complex in their honor.”
Wheeler earned both his undergraduate (1937) and graduate (1967) degrees at ASU. He was an outstanding athlete in several sports, earning the title of “Hot Dog” during his playing years.
Wheeler played baseball at the professional level before returning to his alma mater in 1960 to serve as head baseball coach, a position he held until 1981.
Watkins also earned both his undergraduate (1973) and graduate (1975) degrees at ASU. He took the helm as Hornets head baseball coach in 1982, a position he held for nearly 30 years. Watkins’ teams won 515 games, making him the all-time leader in wins in University history. He led the Hornets to post-season tournaments 13 times and was named SWAC Eastern Division Coach of the Year and SWAC Coach of the Year once each during his tenure.
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