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A Baseball Tradition

On Thursday, January 30, the Seton Hall baseball team in conjunction with the Pirate Blue Athletic Fund hosted its First Pitch Dinner at Maplewood Country Club. The event was a celebration of Seton Hall baseball past and present as several former Pirates spanning multiple decades attended the season-opening gala. Among those in attendance were two members of the 1964 College World Series Seton Hall baseball team, John Monteleone and John Sielski. Pirate baseball alum and former Major Leaguer John Morris was the evening's featured speaker. Morris offered advice to the current team and shared anecdotes about his playing career.

Led by head coach Rob Sheppard, our baseball program has been one of Seton Hall's most successful in recent years. The tradition of excellence set by Mike Sheppard, and furthered by his son Rob, continues to be evident in all of the program's actions both on the field and off.

The 2014 season begins on February 14 at Oklahoma. The Pirates will make their home debut on February 26 vs. Lehigh at Owen T. Carroll Field. Please be sure to come out and support the team. For the full story of the event and links to video highlights and a photo gallery, please CLICK HERE.

Pirate Pride Challenge is Underway

A highly-beneficial annual contest run by our Pirate Blue Athletic Fund is currently underway. Our "Pirate Pride Challenge" is a bracket-style fundraising contest between all current and former student-athletes to benefit their teams. Each month two programs will be matched against one another and compete for the highest participation rate from all current and former Student-Athletes. It began on January 25th, the night of the Pirate Varsity Club event, and runs through May 31st for the chance to win up to $10,000 for their program. For more information, please go to www.piratepridechallenge.com. We had over 300 gifts made last year for over $50,000 and hope to surpass those remarkable numbers this year. If you're a former student-athlete, try to make a gift as soon as possible so your team can win their first round match.

State-of-the-Art Fitness Center Opens

Recently, as students returned to campus for the spring semester, we proudly opened the doors to our brand-new fitness center. The multimillion dollar project is one of the largest projects to reach completion here at Seton Hall in recent years and would not have been possible without the generous support of the University and our loyal donors.

As I have said before, I believe our new fitness center is one of the premier on-campus facilities in the Northeast and stands as a shining example of our continued commitment to providing first-rate amenities at The Hall. The fourth major project to be completed in the last year, the 12,000-square foot space represents much more than a simple redesign. Both levels have been lined with state-of-the-art exercise equipment and our Recreation staff has done a tremendous job constructing a comprehensive organized instruction schedule to further promote well-being among the entire University community.

We are very pleased with the response the new facility has generated thus far. I believe that its quality is a representation of the fact that while we have aimed to address many areas throughout this renovation process; we have done so with a diligence and meticulousness that has yielded nothing short of first-class results that will benefit current Pirates and those for many years to come.

For a closer look at all the new fitness center has to offer, I encourage you to visit our webpage

U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam

I am pleased to announce the Seton Hall men's basketball team will participate in the 2014 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Tournament held Nov. 21-24 at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, USVI. Year after year the Paradise Jam is one of the premier early season tournaments, and with the tremendous support our Pirate Blue fans showed at the event in 2010, it only made sense to join the eight-team field again for next year's tournament. We will play three games over the four-day event, which also includes Clemson, LSU, Nevada, Old Dominion, Gardner Webb, Illinois State and Weber State. One of my favorite things about our fan base is that we always travel well to show our Pirate Pride, so I look forward to showcasing this again in St. Thomas. Stay tuned for travel details as Pirate Blue is organizing an exclusive travel package for the event and will be announcing details soon.

Our women's basketball team will be a part of a 16-team field in the Preseason WNIT next November. The bracketed event always begins on the first Friday of the regular season and features a three-game guarantee format with each game hosted by participating schools at their respective facilities.

New Jersey NAGWS Day

Seton Hall will again host New Jersey NAGWS Day on Sunday, February 9. During a noon luncheon, deserving female athletes will be honored at the high school and college level. Following the event, all attendees are invited to watch our women's basketball team host Villanova. One of Sunday's honorees will include BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman.

NAGWS, the National Association of Girls and Women in Sports, is a century-old professional membership organization with a mission to develop and deliver equitable and quality sport opportunities to all girls and women through relevant research, advocacy, leadership development, educational strategies and programming in a manner that promotes social justice and change.

Pride and Excellence Campaign for Athletics

Within the first year of our campaign we have completed construction of a brand new state of the art athletic training room and recently completed fundraising and renovations for the Charles W. Doehler Academic Center for Excellence. The Pride and Excellence Campaign was created as an ongoing campaign to improve our facilities to the point that they are second to none in the Big East. Our next phase will be the construction of brand new locker rooms, creating dedicated spaces for each team for the first time ever. We will also have projects for a new Hall of Fame, enhancements to Walsh gymnasium and a team video room for all sports to utilize.

Our supporters are the heart and soul of Seton Hall Athletics and we recognize that your investment is a strong statement of the active and meaningful role you play when determining the success of our program. It is with this in mind that I ask you to look over the Pride & Excellence Capital Campaign brochure, which was recently mailed to our Pirate Blue members. You can also view the brochure online here.

In the next several weeks someone from our Pirate Blue office will be following up with those that received the brochure to discuss the campaign further. On behalf of our student-athletes, I thank all of our Pirate Blue members for your continued dedication, generosity, and enthusiasm for Seton Hall Athletics and look forward to building a bright future for Seton Hall Athletics together.