By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Athletic Communications & Media
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The NAIA is excited to announce that the Greater Springfield Area Sports Commission Inc., will be the new host of the 2019 and 2020 NAIA Softball World Series events. The two-year event will occur at the Killian Sports Complex and Softball Stadium in Springfield, Mo., on May 24-30, 2019 and May 22-28, 2020. Evangel University in Springfield will partner with the Sports Commission.
As a separate partnership, Killian Sports Complex will host one of the 10 NAIA National Championship Opening Round events on May 13-15, 2019 and May 11-13, 2020.
In the 38-year history of the sport, Springfield becomes the second city in the "Show-Me" State to welcome the Softball World Series. Columbia, Mo., hosted the event during two stints – 1991 and again from 1993-95. Springfield becomes the 16th different host city for the World Series.
"The NAIA is excited to partner with the Springfield Sports Commission and Evangel University for the 2019 and 2020 Softball World Series events," said Jim Carr, NAIA President, and CEO. "I am confident the community will embrace the NAIA and the sport of softball and will deliver on a first-class experience for our student-athletes. By playing at the Killian Sports Complex, each of the players will compete at a stadium that they will remember for a lifetime."
The Killian Sports Complex houses six 300-feet lighted softball fields. The Softball Stadium has 500 permanent chair-back seats which leads to seating of 1,200 overall fans. In 2009, a $2.7 million renovation project led the complex to serve as the home of the NCAA Division I Missouri State University Lady Bears softball program.
The stadium has also hosted numerous USA Softball national tournaments, the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, and NCAA regionals.
The Sports Commission's mission is to promote and develop the Springfield area as a sports venue for quality amateur, collegiate and professional sporting events. Recent activities drawn to the area were the Missouri State High School Activities Association events and the Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games. See below for more information on the Sports Commission.
"The Springfield Sports Commission is excited to be a part of the NAIA Championship host family," said Lance Kettering, Executive Director of the Springfield Sports Commission. "The Springfield-Greene County Park Board and Evangel University played key roles in making this bid opportunity become a reality. We look forward to being the host city for this great event and are we are thrilled that we will be able to showcase our Championship city to the visiting teams and spectators."
Currently, 194 institutions sponsor softball as a varsity sport, however, only 10 teams will advance to Springfield as the World Series is a double-elimination format event. Champions from each of the 10 NAIA National Championship Opening Rounds will advance to the final site in Springfield. The current format has been in effect since 2013.
In 1981, the NAIA began sponsoring softball and its inaugural championship was held in Conroe, Texas, with former members Sam Houston State (Texas) defeating Emporia State (Kan.), 1-0 to become national champions.
"We are excited for the selection of Springfield as the host city for the NAIA Softball World Series for 2019 and 2020 and look forward to partnering with the Sports Commission to host the championship," said Dr. Carol Taylor, Evangel University President. "This is a great opportunity to showcase our city and the beauty of the Ozarks."
"As the director of athletics for Evangel University and a member of the board of directors for the Springfield Sports Commission I am doubly thrilled that we were chosen to host the NAIA Softball World Series," said Dr. Dennis McDonald, Evangel University Athletics Director. "This is will be a great event for not only the Springfield and Evangel communities, but we also look forward to making it an amazing experience for the student-athletes, coaches, officials, and fans at a first-class venue."
Hosts: Greater Springfield Area Sports Commission Inc. & Evangel University
Event: NAIA Softball World Series
Dates: May 24-30, 2019; May 22-28, 2020
Facility: Killian Sports Complex and Softball Stadium
City: Springfield, Mo.
Duration: 2-years (2019 & 2020)
About National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA):
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 65,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $500 million in scholarships and compete in 25 national championships. www.naia.org | @NAIA
About Greater Springfield Area Sports Commission Inc.
The Springfield Sports Commission is a nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting the local economy by promoting sports travel and tourism to Springfield. To learn more, call 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767 or visit www.SpringfieldMOSports.org.
About Evangel University
Evangel University, which includes the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally. Evangel serves more than 2,100 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 65 undergraduate majors and 19 master's and doctoral degrees.
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