New Softball Field Dedicated During Homecoming
Southern Virginia University Provost Madison U. Sowell declared the new Harvey-Dryden Softball Field open for play during Homecoming last week. At the softball field dedication, the university recognized both a pioneer player and a pioneer coach.
The pioneer player, Natalie Harvey Marquez (’03), was a team captain for three years, playing multiple positions including pitcher and first and third bases. She led her team to nationals and was named a USCAA Honorable Mention All-American.
“Natalie was one of the most selfless, talented and diligent girls I have ever had the honor to coach,” said Deidra Dryden, who coached the university’s softball team while Marquez was a student. “She was not only a great softball player, but also an excellent student and friend to her peers. She left an amazing legacy for the Knight softball program.”
Marquez eventually became head coach of the university’s softball program from 2005 to 2006. She currently serves as a pitching coach for the Bingham High School softball program in South Jordan, Utah — where she has helped her team to state titles in 2009 and 2010, and a runner-up finish at the recent 2013 state championships.
Dryden, who served as head softball coach from 2000 to 2004, was named the pioneer coach at the softball field dedication. She is the program’s all-time winningest coach. She now serves as head women’s tennis coach, senior women’s athletics administrator and adjunct instructor of mathematics at Southern Virginia. She also is the all-time winningest women’s tennis coach at the university.
“Deidra built our softball program from the ground up,” said Dusté Grawrock, head softball coach at Southern Virginia. “She made so many sacrifices and she did it all while raising a young family. Whether through teaching, coaching, or simply being a great example, she has mentored literally hundreds of students at Southern Virginia. Her contributions to the softball program and this university are too great to be measured.”
The primary donors of the new Harvey-Dryden Softball Field, Carol and Brett Harvey, are the parents of Marquez. They also have another daughter, Trisha Harvey Jones, who attended Southern Virginia and played on the softball team. Carol Harvey traveled from Pittsburgh, Pa., to attend the softball field dedication and was honored with a copy of Del Parson’s painting “The Master-Servant” — the original of which is on display in the university’s Main Hall.
“We are so grateful for the Harvey family’s contribution to our athletic program,” said Scott Doxey, athletic director and vice president of operations and student services at Southern Virginia. “The Harvey-Dryden Softball Field is one of the key components of The Fields complex. This provides an excellent home field for our softball program as we enter into the NCAA Division III and the Capital Athletic Conference.”
The creation of the new field is one of many improvements made possible through Southern Virginia’s ongoing capital campaign. To date, the university has raised more than $28 million toward its $50 million campaign goal.
In addition to honoring the pioneer coach and player, the announcer at the event, Arthur Furler, recognized each alumna of the university’s softball program in attendance, as well as all of the current students on the softball team. The softball field dedication featured two musical numbers — “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” — by The Fading Point. Additionally, following the dedication and ribbon cutting, attendees enjoyed a number of activities for both children and adults, including a homerun derby on the newly-opened field.