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USD Goes Big-time With Fowler Park

Donating a big chunk of cash was a natural for Fowler, a civic leader and philanthropist who heads the group that bought the Padres last summer.

"I've always loved the sport, and I think Rich Hill is probably one of the most quality people you can meet in college sports," said Fowler, who played high school baseball in Minnesota before tearing up his left knee. "He has high energy, passion and is a great role model for his players. I chair the board at USD, and I think you put your money where your mouth is."

The new ballpark will help both in recruiting players and keeping them on campus a bit longer.

"I think it's going to keep guys from the pro thing a little bit better," Hill said. "I think it will add to our depth. I think we'll be able to really recruit the highest quality guy, not only on the West Coast but nationally."

Despite playing in a sun-splashed city that produces a ton of prep talent, neither USD nor SDSU have ever reached a super regional, the last step before the College World Series.

"Our goal is to get to Omaha," Snyder said. "This was built with the intent of hosting the regionals and hopefully then the super regionals. Teams that host the regionals and super regionals have a far better chance of getting to the College World Series than those that don't."

Hill, who played with Gwynn, Bobby Meacham and Mark Williamson on the 1981 SDSU team that reached the NCAA regionals, agrees.

"You've got to earn it. No excuses," Hill said. "Let's go. Let's not build a fence around what we think we can accomplish in this thing and go for it."

One final detail that Hill likes about Fowler Park is that workers reinforced his office walls to support his surfboard and paddleboard.

"It's all San Diego, man. It's all San Diego," Hill said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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