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Oklahoma Announces Major Gift Toward the Love's Field Project

On Thursday OU athletic director Joe Castiglione announced a $1 million gift to the softball program from Robyn and Mike Batson.

Oklahoma softball has received another major gift toward the Love’s Field project.

Robyn and Mike Batson, philanthropists and longtime supporters of both the University of Oklahoma and the OU Athletic Department, have pledged $1 million, OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione announced on Thursday.

"We are so grateful to Robyn and Mike for their generous commitment to OU softball yet again," said Castiglione in a press release. "When one thinks of Oklahoma softball, what immediately comes to mind are the national championships, the relentless effort of our players and the incredible leadership from Coach Patty Gasso. However, I also think of the pivotal and early support, when fewer were following, that helped establish OU softball as we know it today. It is people like Robert Earl, Linda, Robyn, Mike and the Young family, who believed in how special this program could be – even before all the trophies. To have their unwavering support all these years truly means so much to OU and our department. We are extremely grateful."

Support for the Oklahoma softball program run deep in the Batson family.

Robyn's father, Robert Earl Young, donated a gift in 2000 that went toward building the team’s first locker room, a landmark moment of support for the program.

Love's Field
Love's Field
Love's Field
Love's Field

Robyn Batson's stepmother and Young's wife, Linda, has pledges $200,000 herself to the building of Love’s Field, and she was also around the program early, aiding with planting flowers and helping ensure the landscaping around the new locker room in the early 2000’s was immaculate.

Robyn Batson worked with her father at 1st Bank & Trust in Broken Bow, OK. Recently, Robyn Batson retired as the bank's chairperson, president and CEO.

"It was an easy choice to give to this program," said Robyn Batson in the release. "To follow up on what Dad started was a no-brainer for us. We like to give to a lot of things, but this softball program is special and it's easy to be proud of. To be able to do this a little over 20 years after my father cut that ribbon for the current locker room is special, and I really feel that, of course, we want to remember him, but I am really doing what he taught me."

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Gasso said she was appreciative of the gift, and that the program is honored to be the recipients of funds that can help continue to develop not only champions on the field but strong women off it.

"As a young coach, there are certain things you look for to bring you peace and confidence early in your career, and for me it was seeing Robert in the stands supporting our team," said Gasso in the release. "This gift is meaningful to OU softball, but especially for me, as their support continues to be a reminder of their investment years ago and what it did to shape the future of our program."

Robin Batson said she’s happy she could play a role in the development of players Gasso has shown throughout the years.

"You look at the young women coming out of it, and we really enjoy their sportsmanship,” said Robyn Batson in the release. “Of course, the games are fun, but I want those young women to go out into our world and give, volunteer and lead our world to goodness.”

All told, the Batson and Young families have combined to donate $1.2 million for Love’s Field.

"When you think about where this program started and the opportunity we now have to see a crowd of thousands each game, you think to yourself, 'Wow, this is a special place,'" Linda Young said in the release. "When you can make an impact on a young person's life - that's what it's all about. Whatever you can give makes a difference."

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