Mississippi College

Rice Baseball Field House Set for Fall 2014 Dedication

June 13, 2014

Alabama businessman Mike Rice hit a towering home run with his generous gift to Mississippi College to construct a baseball field house this year near Frierson Field.

MC officials expect the Rice Baseball Field House will be dedicated on the Clinton campus this fall.

The facility is named in honor of the president of Master Boat Builders in Coden, Alabama. Rice starred for the MC Choctaws baseball team in the 1970s and played for the football team. The 1977 alumnus once led the Gulf South Conference in home runs, doubles and triples. During one season with the Choctaws, he led the nation in home runs in NCAA Division II.

A member of the MC Sports Hall of Fame, Rice is a strong supporter of the Christian university’s transition to NCAA Division II. Starting this fall, Mississippi College will return to GSC competition for the first time since 1996.

“We are just happy to help out as the guys get back to Division II,” Rice said by phone in June from his office near the Alabama Gulf Coast.

For the Mississippi College sports program, the Rice Baseball Field House, he said, represents “a major improvement and will help with recruiting.”

In NCAA Division II, Mississippi College can offer athletic scholarships. Since 1997, MC was a member of the Texas-based American Southwest Conference in NCAA Division III.

Mississippi College officials plan to welcome Rice, and his wife, Deborah, a 1975 MC grad, back to their alma mater this fall. They’re invited to ceremonies to dedicate the new brick facility housing locker rooms for Choctaws baseball players, equipment storage space, coaches offices and much more.

“We are excited about the addition of this top-rated facility to our baseball program,” said Mississippi College Athletic Director Mike Jones. “Mike Rice is a generous and loyal supporter to MC athletics.”

The date for the dedication on the Clinton campus will be announced sometime this summer. Construction of the attractive facility near the Choctaws dugout and stands was recently completed.

Rice has been a key MC supporter in other ways. The prominent Alabama businessman serves on the Baptist-affiliated university’s Board of Trustees.

“We are very blessed to have him as a part of the MC family,” Jones said Thursday.

In 1979, Rice opened Master Boat Builders that manufactures fishing vessels and offshore supply vessels. He’s active in his community in South Alabama.

With Choctaws coach Brian Owens starting his 9th season next spring and his team facing GSC rivals like Delta State, West Alabama and Valdosta State, the Rice Baseball Field House should be a hit with MC players for years to come.

Photo: Rice Baseball Field House near Mississippi College's Frierson Field.The facility will include coaches offices, player locker rooms, equipment storage space, and much more.

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