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Oklahoma Announces Major Donation to Ignite Softball Stadium Project

Love's Travel Stops announced a donation of $9 million to help deliver a new softball stadium for the Sooners.

Oklahoma new softball stadium will soon become reality.

The University of Oklahoma today announced a massive donation — to the tune of $9 million — from Love’s Travel Stops, a donation that will finally put in motion the construction of the new complex.

The new stadium will be called Love's Field.

Love's Field

OU hopes to break ground on Love's Field in 2022 and open the complex up in 2024

At last, OU softball head coach Patty Gasso gets her new stadium, the culmination of three decades of work growing the game and building a softball dynasty in Norman.

"As life-long Oklahomans, investing in the community, specifically the University of Oklahoma and its softball program, is something we're proud to do," said Jenny Love Meyer, chief culture officer and executive vice president of Love's, in a press release. 

"What Patty Gasso has accomplished in not only her tenure at OU, but for women's college softball, is awe-inspiring. The program she's built aligns with Love's core values of integrity, perseverance and strong work ethic, and the world was able to see that as they won the 2021 Women's College World Series. We are proud to have our name associated with this program and the new stadium that's so well deserved by the team."

Gasso expressed her gratitude for the donation, as it paves the way for the next era of Oklahoma softball.

"I can't put into words how grateful I am and our program is for the generosity of Love's Travel Stops and the Love family," Gasso said in the press release. "They share our championship mindset and have embraced not only the success of our program, but the culture we've built among our student-athletes and fans. They also recognize that for us to maintain the level of excellence we've achieved, we must be a national leader in all aspects of our program, including our facility. 

"Love's is empowering women to reach the absolute pinnacle of achievement while inspiring the next generation to look to the future with the biggest dream. As we see at a moment like this, dreams really do come true."

The donation is the largest single donation to OU ever directed toward women's athletics. 

"Love's has made a gift of historical proportions for a facility that will be second to none and will impact the lives of our student-athletes for generations to come,” OU Vice President and Athletics Director Joe Castiglione said in the press release. “We are profoundly grateful. Love's is one of Oklahoma's greatest companies and families. It is an honor to be aligned with them. We share their values of pressing into the future with new ideas, of capturing the opportunities each day brings, and understanding the vital role we play in our community and state. 

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"We are proud that their name will be on our new stadium, and we are grateful that the accomplishments of Patty Gasso, her staffs and student-athletes are being celebrated in this way. This program develops young women and achieves in a way that should be magnified as elite in all of college athletics."

Since taking charge of the Oklahoma softball program, Gasso has delivered five National Championships to Norman, and she’s won a mind-boggling 79.2 percent of all games as head coach.

The new stadium has been a long time coming for the program, as the OU athletic department initially announced plans to build the complex way back in 2017.

Last May, Gasso said that money had been the big delay in finally moving forward on the project, as COVID hit athletic departments hard across the country. It’s not known where this puts the overall stadium funding, but Gasso said the target to break ground was approximately half of the new facility’s $25 million price tag.  

Finally, Gasso will have her new palace, one in which seating capacity for softball games will balloon from 1,378 to 3,000 seats.

Currently, the 2024 season is the targeted year for opening the new stadium, which will be built at the northwest corner of Jenkins Avenue and Imhoff Road, approximately half a mile south of Marita Hynes Field.

The current OU softball facility takes up 15,150 square feet, but the new complex will span 44,000 square feet, including doubling the size of the team areas and doubling the size of the indoor facility for the program. 

To date, $20 million has been raised to fund the new stadium project. 

On top of the $9 million donation, Love’s has agreed to match future donations dollar-for-dollar up to $3 million.

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