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Smith steps to the plate for Maryland baseball

November 20, 2009

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Bob "Turtle" Smith is still swinging for the fences for the University of Maryland baseball team.

The Chewsville native, a 1963 graduate and former Terrapins baseball player, and his wife Carol have made a seven-figure commitment to Maryland athletics. In honor of their gift, Maryland's baseball stadium has been renamed Shipley Field at Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium.

The pledge is in support of Maryland's Greatness Campaign, which provides funds to Terps athletics with the greatest need. It will also help the "Home Run Club," the support group for the Maryland baseball team.  

According to Smith, who attended Hagerstown and North Hagerstown high schools, the lessons he learned about the work ethic and dedication needed to start every year for the Terps, which included being named a co-captain as a senior, and winning the Berger Cup for outstanding contributions to athletics through baseball, helped cut his path in life.

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"These experiences had a major impact and influence on my entire life and make me proud to have the stadium bear my name," he said.

The Smiths said the timing their gift is appropriate, partly because of the naming of new Maryland baseball coach Erik Bakich.

"Carol and I are very excited about the direction of the baseball program with coach Bakich at the helm," Bob Smith said. "He is bringing a new enthusiasm and energy that will turn our program around."

"We share Bob and Carol's optimism regarding the future of the Maryland baseball program. Their generosity comes at a wonderful time," said director of athletics Deborah A. Yow. "We very much admire and appreciate their commitment to our baseball program, and this gift will benefit our student-athletes for some time."

The latest donation adds to the Smiths' support for the Maryland baseball program. In December 2007, they established the Robert W. and Carol B. Smith and Family Endowed Baseball Scholarship. It was the first fully funded scholarship exclusively for the baseball program. 

A formal dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bob "Turtle" Smith Stadium will be scheduled in the spring of 2010.

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