New Purdue baseball field to be named for former coach's parents

September 30, 2011

Dave Alexander during his time as Purdue's baseball coach.

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue's Board of Trustees on Friday (Sept. 30) approved naming the university's new baseball facility Alexander Field in honor of the late John Alexander and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander.

The Alexanders were the parents of Dave Alexander, who is giving the lead gift for the project. Dave Alexander was Purdue baseball coach from 1978-1991 and then an athletics administrator through 1994. All three Alexanders graduated from Purdue, and Dave played on Purdue's baseball team.

The $10.3 million baseball stadium is being built near Cherry Lane and McCormick Road. It is expected to open next spring.

"I'm pleased that we can honor the Alexanders in this way," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "This is a family that has a long tradition at Purdue - as students, as mentors and as supporters."

John Alexander earned a bachelor's degree in 1933, while Anna Margaret Ross Alexander earned a bachelor's degree in 1935. Both received honorary doctorates from Purdue in 1986.

John Alexander was a partner in the Indianapolis law firm Krieg, DeVault, Alexander and Capehart. He was a leading authority on banking legislation in the state. He was president of the Purdue Alumni Association from 1953-1955. His uncle, Clarence Jones, was instrumental in the selection of the Old Oaken Bucket as a traveling trophy for the annual Purdue-Indiana football game.

An artist rendering of the new Northwest Site athletic complex that will include the John and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Field.

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Anna Margaret Ross Alexander was an active community leader in Indianapolis, particularly with the schools. She was a member of the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1966-1970, serving as president in 1969 and 1970. In 1984 she was the first recipient of the Purdue Alumni Association Citizenship Award.

Both were members of the Purdue President's Council and inaugural members of the John Purdue Club in 1958-59.

"Purdue and baseball obviously have been a big part of my life, and I am pleased to be able to honor my great parents this way," Dave Alexander said. "I'm sure they are happy about it. I'm glad Purdue is making this new facility a reality, and I applaud the Board of Trustees, President Córdova, (Purdue director of Intercollegiate Athletics) Morgan Burke and his staff for seeing it through."

Dave Alexander earned a bachelor's degree in 1962 and a master's degree in physical recreation education in 1964. He is the winningest baseball coach in Purdue history with 407 victories. His 1986 team set a school record with 37 wins, and his 1987 squad participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Alexander coached many quality student-athletes, and all but one of them who completed his eligibility earned a degree. He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

After leaving coaching in 1991, Alexander served two and a half years as the athletics department compliance officer before becoming a scout for the Seattle Mariners professional baseball team. He continues to live in Lafayette and scout for the Mariners. He has been a John Purdue Club member since 1963.

John Alexander and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander

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"Dave's gift will allow Purdue to continue to tell the story of his mom and dad," Burke said. "We will prominently tell that story at the field that will carry the family name. John and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander believed in the value of intercollegiate athletic competition and saw it as a way of enhancing leadership. They also were people who strongly believed in service and supporting others. Certainly during their lifetime, Purdue University benefitted from their time, talent and treasure."

The baseball stadium is part of the new "Northwest Site," which also houses the soccer complex, tennis facility and cross country course. 

Alexander Field will seat 1,500 with the possibility of expansion to 2,500. The press box will include media seating, radio and television announcing booths, and a game-day operations area. Television-quality lights will allow for night games to be televised.

The new stadium is part of the $121 million Mackey Complex/Northwest Site master plan that was approved in 2007. With Alexander's gift, fundraising will surpass $32 million, with the balance to be paid for with revenue received from Big Ten Conference television agreements and other department funds. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is self-supporting and receives no tax dollars or university funding.

Alexander Field will replace the 1,100-seat Lambert Field, which has been home to Purdue baseball since 1965. Lambert Field will be razed to allow additional parking for the renovated Student Fitness and Wellness Center. 

Writers:    Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432,  

                   Tom Schott, 765-494-3145,   

Sources:   France A. Córdova,  

                   Morgan Burke, 765-494-3189,