With the 2009 opening of the state-of-the-art Boshamer Stadium, the University of North Carolina baseball program can now call one of the finest facilities in all of collegiate baseball home.
The completely new facility, built within the same footprint as the old Boshamer Stadium, brings incredible upgrades to the program, and the changes allow Tar Heel student-athletes to compete at the highest level in an atmosphere unlike any other venue in collegiate baseball.
Located on Ridge Road in the heart of the Carolina campus, the site of Boshamer Stadium has been the home of the Diamond Heels since the late 1960s when Emerson Field was razed due to University expansion. Ground was broken on the new stadium in October 2007, and the team moved into its brand-new home in February 2009.
The original Boshamer was opened in 1972 and hosted five Atlantic Coast Conference Tournaments, as well as NCAA regionals in 1983, 2006 and 2007. The Tar Heels closed "The Bosh" in style with a Super Regional victory over South Carolina in 2007 to advance to the program's sixth College World Series.
Boshamer Stadium was a gift from 1917 Carolina graduate and textile industrialist Cary C. Boshamer of Gastonia, N.C. The playing surface at the new facility - Bryson Field - honors former letterwinner Vaughn Bryson and his wife Nancy, both 1960 graduates of the UNC School of Pharmacy. The Brysons are long-time supporters of the baseball program and the University.
Boshamer Stadium has a listed capacity of 4,100 with room for overflow crowds of more than 5,000. There is chairback seating throughout the facility, and fans enjoy clean sightlines throughout the seating bowl, a wider concourse and vastly improved restroom, concession and merchandise facilities.
The concourse level also features a Hall of Honor space on the third base line that offers stunning views of the action. Additionally, ten picnic tables will be scattered throughout the facility, and a small grass area, reminiscent of the grassy bank at the old stadium, is located on the first base line.
A new stadium entrance, featuring Steinbrenner Family Courtyard, creates a scenic gateway to the ballpark.
While Tar Heel fans will certainly enjoy the improvements, the Carolina team will have scores of state-of-the-art amenities at their disposal as they continue to build one of the top programs in college baseball.
The new facility, which is located just 25 feet from Avery Dorm, where most players reside, houses a 2,450-square foot clubhouse complete with a sparkling locker room dressing area, equipment room, meeting rooms, a study hall area and a players' lounge that features two 52-inch flat screen televisions, pool and ping pong tables and an Xbox video game system. There are 35 flat screen TVs throughout the facility.
Players also have access to a video room with the most complete individual computer analysis software. In the video room, the Tar Heels can view footage from every practice, scrimmage, at-bat and pitch. The stadium features three permanently mounted cameras that record all the action from a different angle. Additionally, there is wireless internet access throughout the clubhouse.
An area for pregame and postgame meals is also included in the clubhouse area.
Carolina baseball student-athletes will have access to a 2,850-square foot weight room with an adjacent training room that includes a hydro-therapy center with hot and cold plunge pools, as well as an office for the baseball training staff.
Also connected to the clubhouse is a covered indoor/outdoor hitting and pitching practice facility. This 6,200-square foot climate controlled, Astroturf area has space for three batting cages, three pitching machines, a soft toss and batting tee station and a pitching area with three dirt pitching mounds. The pitching machines located behind each mound will be available to players at all times. The building can also be used for infield work.
The indoor facility is well lit with skylights and has three garage doors - that can open automatically - on one side of the facility for fresh air and sunlight. It sits just 20 yards from the locker room and is accessible via a hallway for players on rainy days without going outside.
The playing surface of the new Bryson Field was also upgraded. Changes include a new infield playing surface, new grass, new irrigation and drainage systems, padded outfield walls and a new batters' eye. The drainage system is state-of-the-art and is capable of handling upwards of 15 inches of rain per hour.
New Astroturf bullpens, located off the field, were also installed, as was a 10-foot rubberized warning track around the outside of the playing field. A brick wall behind home plate and down each line adds to the classic look of the ballpark.
Both dugouts are 75 feet long are and completed with padded benches and cubbies for each player. The dugouts feature a poured rubber floor with camera wells on each end.
The stadium also features a new lighting system that exceeds AAA minor league standards and is on par with the finest professional stadiums.
The dimensions of the playing field are 335 feet down the left field line, 370 to left center, 400 to center field, 355 to right center and 340 down the right field line.
In addition to the clubhouse area, playing surface and seating bowl, the upper deck was significantly upgraded to join the elite facilities in college baseball. Housed down the third base line are offices for the Carolina coaches and staff along with a reception area. Each office features a view of the stadium, as well as a balcony that overlooks the field.
Just off the coaches' office area is an 800-square foot patio facing the front of the stadium and Ridge Road. This spot is ideal for entertaining and is available for cookouts and meals on both game days and for football games in the fall.
Adjacent to the offices is the main press box, which features two-tiered seating to accommodate the print media. Also included in the press area are a fully equipped television booth and two radio booths.
This level also features seven suites complete with a kitchen area, indoor stools and seating in front overlooking the playing surface. Four outdoor suites down the right field line with tables and umbrellas are also available for lease.