UF Baseball: Gator Dugout Club’s Legacy Gift Honors National Championship Team

Florida’s national championship trophy will be prominently displayed at Florida Ballpark.
Photo by Tim Casey

Courtesy of UF Athletic Association

This gift is for the fans, those Gators Baseball diehards who show up every game, whether it’s Tuesday night after a full day’s work or Sunday afternoon as a prelude to dinner with friends and family. Those loyal followers who come to the ballpark early, buy themselves a scorecard, and wait patiently for a staff member to post the game’s starting lineups, no matter if it is a non-conference game in February or a postseason thriller in June.

Those devoted fans are who Henri Logan, the second-year president of the Gator Dugout Club, Florida Baseball’s official booster club, thought of when the prospect of a donation to Florida Ballpark at Alfred A. McKethan Field first arose.

Logan, who joined the University of Florida’s health science center faculty in 1999 and retired as a professor emeritus in 2014, saw it as the Gator Dugout Club’s duty to contribute to the new ballpark’s fundraising efforts. But as several members told her, they were not big-time donors with the ability to cut six- or seven-figure checks. They were, as Logan said with tremendous pride, the little people.

“I remember in that first meeting we had, one of our members is a teacher, and she sat over there and was looking long-faced,” Logan recalled. “And she said, ‘I don’t have a lot of money. But I go to every game, and there are other people that echo that.’ That really touched me. We can’t give seven figures, but we can give something.”

The conversation led to the idea behind what Logan and the Dugout Club refer to as the Legacy Gift. Logan sent e-mails to the club with requests for donations of any dollar figure. Not a single cent was insignificant. Upwards of 40 members and friends of the club pitched in, and Logan knows more contributions are on the way, even though the Dugout Club reached its fundraising goal for the gift.

Fittingly, that team effort will recognize Florida Baseball’s ultimate team achievement. The 2017 national championship trophy will be prominently displayed in Florida Ballpark and encased in will be known as the Dugout Club National Championship Trophy Display.

Quite the recognition for all of “the little people” in Gator Nation.

“Frankly, I don’t want recognition for myself,” Logan said. “I want to be a part of something much bigger than me. The gift represents an outward and visible symbol of the Gator Dugout Club members’ gratitude to (Head) Coach (Kevin) O’Sullivan, his staff, and the student-athletes for their commitment to the continuing excellence of Gators Baseball. We wanted that gift to form a legacy for the everyday fans who attend Gators Baseball games … to remind fans what happens when we play together as a team. The Dugout Club and their friends can feel so proud we made the gift together.”

The Gators Dugout Club’s support of the program with regards to attendance, cheering, and a genuine love for the student-athletes has never been in question since its formation. Logan and her fellow club officers made it a priority to be more than just avid fans, though.

In addition to this latest gift, Logan cited a $10,000 contribution to the program’s scholarship fund – which was celebrated during the 2020 season’s opening weekend – as a proud moment for the Dugout Club.

“Henri Logan and the other club officers have done a terrific job motivating their club members to really step up their support,” said Phil Pharr, Gators Boosters’ executive director for major gifts. “To get a gift like this from one of our sport support organizations is wonderful.  We want to thank them for the leadership role the Dugout Club has taken with the Florida Baseball program.”

Logan was unable to travel to Omaha for the 2017 College World Series. She watched the championship-clinching win from UF Health Shands Hospital, as she comforted her husband. When he was discharged the following morning, Logan told him their afternoon plans were already set. They were headed to McKethan Stadium, where they celebrated the national championship with their friends, family, and the 2017 Gators.

“We sat in the stadium and cheered every one of those players,” Logan said. “What a moment that was.”

And what a legacy it will carry for generations of Gators fans.