LEWISTON, ID — The home of the 18-time Avista NAIA World Series champion Lewis-Clark State College baseball team will now be called Ed Cheff Stadium in honor of the most successful coach in NAIA baseball history, LCSC Athletic Director Gary Picone has announced.
Cheff coached the Warriors to 16 national titles during his tenure from 1977 to 2010.
An official public grand opening of the stadium will take place sometime this spring at a date to be announced.
“Anything that happens at Harris Field and in this stadium should have Ed Cheff’s name prominently displayed,” Picone said. “He made LCSC baseball a nationally recpgnized program.”
The stadium is currently undergoing more than $1.75 million in remodeling and changes, which include a new seating project and the installation of a video display board to replace the old scoreboard.
The physical changes also allowed LCSC officials to name the stadium in honor of the former Warrior coach who was the face of the program for more than 30 years. The baseball field will continue to be called Harris Field as it has since 1950 in honor of Loyd Harris. Harris was instrumental in baseball in Lewiston as a player, manager and club director until his death in 1969.
“It is important to maintain the Harris Field history, and it’s important to add Ed Cheff’s legacy to Harris Field,” Picone said.
Cheff posted a 1,705-430-2 record at LCSC for a .799 winning percentage. His win total ranks second only to Wichita State’s Gene Stephenson’s 1,724 wins with the same program in all of college baseball. His win total also is fourth all-time among all college baseball coaches.
Cheff’s accomplishments are nothing short of amazing. Under his leadership, the Warriors captured 16 NAIA national titles during a 25-year span, won at least 40 games for 30 straight seasons, and produced 114 draft picks in the Major League Baseball Draft, including 14 players who have made it to the big leagues.
During Cheff’s tenure, LCSC played in 11 consecutive NAIA World Series championship games and won eight. To put this in perspective, no other program has won more than four NAIA Series titles in Series’ history.
“Ed Cheff’s contributions to LCSC baseball exceed anything that has been achieved in college baseball,” Picone said. “His contributions both on and off the field to help LCSC and the Lewis-Clark Valley are immeasurable.”
There are four phases to the Ed Cheff Stadium project, which started in October with the demolition and removal of the existing grandstands and seats. A new foundation is being poured and new grandstands and seating are scheduled to be installed by Feb. 1. The new seats will allow for more seating and leg room. This first phase of the project will cost around $950,000.
The second phase is the addition of a 24 x 32 foot DVX video display board, which will replace the old scoreboard in right field. The cost for the video display board, which Potlatch #1 Federal Credit Union has generously donated, is around $300,000. The new board has the capabilities of showing videos, game replays, and will have a clear view regardless of the location of the sun. The installation of the new board is scheduled for February.
The third phase is the Ed Cheff Stadium portion, which includes the completion of the grandstands with the addition of brick columns, a vendor area, and display for LCSC baseball. This has a completion date of May 1. Picone said this phase will continue the brick façade that currently is just in the grandstand area to continue around to the seating in the first- and third-base bleacher areas. And instead of the metal structure underneath the grandstands, LCSC will build storage areas to help make more room in the Activity Center for additional locker rooms. LCSC will be looking to add at least one women’s program for the fall of 2018.
Picone said a fundraiser is currently underway to help this phase of the project, which includes naming/display rights for the new brick pillars on the backside of the grandstands.
The fourth phase is connected with the third phase and is the renovation of the first and third base decking and seating, which is expected to be completed by May 1.
The project is part of LCSC’s on-going efforts to continue to be the host for the annual Avista NAIA World Series. The current contract runs through 2019, but LCSC officials are hoping for an extension. The 2017 Series will be the 26th time the tournament has been held in Lewiston.