The subject recently came up and I thought it deserved its own mention.

Doak Field was originally constructed in 1966. Our baseball team has called it home ever since. The stadium eventually reached the status of barely high school level facility, such that there were years when the baseball team was required by the NCAA to host regionals they earned the right to host at off campus baseball facilities! NC State enjoyed some outstanding head coaches during this time, from Sam Esposito to Ray Tanner. Esposito's teams were frequently very good and he shouldered the bulk of the challenge in recruiting. He coached from 1967 to 1987. Ray Tanner then stepped right in being promoted from Esposito's assistant to the head coaching position, which he held until 1996.

Tanner spent many years putting high quality teams on the field constantly seeing his successes go without any significant improvements to our baseball facilities. Despite derelict refusal to support his program, Tanner put NC State into the NCAA Regionals seven of the nine years he was head coach, including his first season, and consecutively from 1990-94. He was named ACC Coach of the Year in 1990. The last time NC State won the conference title was under Tanner's leadership in 1992! Despite all this success, Doak Field was left without any facility improvement plans. Feeling completely abused at NC State, Tanner accepted the head coaching position at South Carolina in 1997, and led the Gamecocks to instant success, culminating with National titles in 2010 and 2011. His team also won the SEC crown in 2004. This is regarded as among the greatest failures in NC State athletic history, literally begging Ray Tanner to leave NC State!

Finally, after all of this, and having gotten very lucky in the hiring of Elliot Avent as head coach in 1997, things started to finally turn. In 2002, Doak Field was essentially closed for the 2003 season to facilitate long overdue repairs and upgrades. The entire grandstand was torn down, such as it was, and replaced with a concourse, press box, about 2,200 seats, and greatly improved player facilities. Those upgrades cost $6 million, but barely made Doak Field eligible for hosting NCAA Regionals and Super-Regionals!

The truth is that among existing ACC baseball stadiums, Doak Field ranks in the bottom half. Without those $6 million in upgrades for the 2004 season, our facility would have likely ranked dead last in the conference!

What is really needed to put Doak Field to the level of premier D1 baseball facility is a second deck of seats, complete with a sun shade overhang. One of the biggest complaints, and reportedly a huge disincentive for attendance, is that all of the current seats are fully exposed to the sun. There is simply no shade to be had. Night games consequently show significant increases in attendance over the day games. The seats are mostly on the west side of the facility, and so even a modest sun shade would put the majority of seats in the shade during the afternoon.

Concrete pillars could be added to the surface of the existing concourse and support a second tier of seats extending from one side of the infield to the other. That alone would double the seating. Bleachers could be constructed along left and right field to increase the seating further still. Moreover, the second tier could have that sun shade added, which again would likely pay for itself in a few seasons just from increased attendance during day games.

Reasonably, such a construction project would cost between $6 to $8 million. It really should be the next significant facilities upgrade project for the Wolfpack Club and NC State to plan for.