Limestone University will formally dedicate “Jimmy Martin Field” at its new softball complex on Sunday, Feb. 19, in between games of a doubleheader.
Martin, who helped take Limestone softball to unprecedented heights as part of a 23-year head coaching career that made him the program's all-time winningest coach, retired from the diamond in 2013.
Jimmy Martin Field was recently constructed in the grass area located adjacent to the Timken Center on campus.
The first game against Chowan University on February 19 will get underway at 12 noon. The “Jimmy Martin Field” dedication ceremony will take place prior to the first pitch of the second contest against the visiting Hawks. The estimated time of the dedication ceremony is approximately 1:30 p.m. Martin, members of his family, several friends, and many former players will be in attendance.
Limestone officials have said that the new softball complex will be further developed in the future to include permanent stands, brick dugouts, batting cages, and bullpens, as well as a new softball locker room inside the Timken Center. Fundraising efforts are ongoing to make those future improvements.
Limestone’s softball team last played on campus in 2014. The former softball field, situated next to the Saints’ baseball stadium, was removed as part Limestone’s plan to develop a new welcome center for its outdoor athletic facilities. That project led to the construction of Shannon Hamrick Park and the new amenities that came with the creation of the Bob Prevatte Athletic Complex. Since then, the University’s softball team has played its home games at Babe Ruth Field located on Twin Lakes Road in Gaffney.
Limestone softball, under the direction of first-year head coach Caroline Hill, will open the 2023 season on the road against Georgia Southwestern in St Augustine, FL on February 4. The Saints will also play Flagler the same day. After four straight games on the road to open the season, Limestone will play its first home games on Jimmy Martin Field on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with a doubleheader against Lees-McRae.
Named the fifth head coach in program history in 1990, Martin posted a career record of 614-605-3, won two NAIA District 6 championships, captured five conference championships, earned three national rankings, and won three Coach of the Year awards.
The idea to name the softball field in honor of Martin started with a grassroots effort in 2014 that was led by Limestone alumna and former Limestone player Niki Woodberry Midgett. She spearheaded the “Fight Like Jimmy” fundraising campaign because of the relationship she built with her former softball coach and his wife, Beth. During her senior season, Midgett had both her father and her mother pass away unexpectedly.
“Through those hard times, Jimmy and Beth were my rock,” Midgett explained nine years ago during the launch of the fundraising efforts. “I will never, ever forget that.”
While on vacation in Myrtle Beach in the summer of 2012, Martin suffered a stroke that left him at the time paralyzed on the left side of his body and with impaired vision. Martin endured hours of rehabilitation and eventually returned to Limestone as the full-time Associate Athletics Director for Facilities. He retired from that position several years later.
In addition to leading the Limestone softball program, Martin also served as the head women’s volleyball coach for nine seasons (1991-99) and was the assistant women’s basketball coach during the 1988-89 season.
Martin, who graduated from Limestone with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education in 1989, lives in his native Gaffney with his wife, Beth.
Accompanying photo: Jimmy and Beth Martin.