Alumni Field went from functional to fantastic as a practice and game facility during the 1999-2000 school year. As one of the final steps in the process, Almuni Field was renamed Dempsey Field, in honor of Albion alums June and Cedric Dempsey.
Cedric Dempsey, a 1954 Albion graduate, is the former president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A former basketball and cross country coach at Albion, Cedric has served in a number of administrative and coaching roles for several Division I universities, including Houston and Arizona.
June Dempsey also graduated from Albion in 1954 and like her husband, has made a significant impact in the field of education. June currently serves on the College’s Alumni Board. Both are members of the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame. In addition, Cedric is a Distinguished Alumni Award winner, and both played influential roles in three College initatives; construction of the Elkin Isaac Track inside Sprankle-Sprandel Stadium; creation of the Isaac Lectureship Series which has developed into the Isaac Symposium; and the current campaign to fund and endow the Fritz Shurmur Education Institute.
One of the ways the Dempseys have supported Albion is with the upgrading of the softball field. They are the primary donors for the project, which has literally encompassed the field, located on the north banks of the Kalamazoo River.
Another donor for the softball field renovation is Albion resident Barbara Hill Meyer. Meyer was one of the early players in getting the renovation going. Her contribution has been in place atop the backstop since last spring. The netting in place is an aide in keeping softballs in play and out of the nearby Kalamazoo River and the thick underbrush on the north bank.
A four-year performer in tennis and field hockey for the Britons, Meyer is a member of the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Only the dugouts and backstop remained the same, as fans coming to Dempsey Field noticed a significant change in appearance. The field, like its baseball counterpart at the northeast corner of the Alumni Field, now known as Frank Joranko Field, is nearly enclosed with portable fencing across the outfield and permanent, four-foot high fences from the backstop to the foul poles along the first and third base lines.
Pitching warmup areas next to the dugouts are semi-enclosed. A batting cage for practices and pre-game preparation is in place near the first base dugout.
Permanent seating is available behind the backstop on the first and third base sides. Between the stands is a press box which handles scoreboard, statistical and media functions.
The first games on the renovated facility were played March 23, 2000, with Albion entertaining Spring Arbor. Dedication and formal naming of Dempsey Field occurred prior to the April 15, 2000, doubleheader with Kalamazoo College.