Athens, Ga. — A ceremony officially dedicating the Jack Turner Softball Stadium at the University of Georgia took place Wednesday, April 27.
Named for the late Jack Turner, who died in 2008, and funded in part by gifts from Turner and his son, Jimmy, the stadium was dedicated at a ceremony and ribbon-cutting prior to the Georgia Bulldog's game against Kennesaw State University.
“Jack Turner was one of UGA’s most loyal alumni and supporters, and I am very pleased that his family has chosen to honor his legacy in this way,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “Great public universities enjoy high levels of private support for their academic and athletic programs, and Jack and his family have served the University of Georgia in a variety of ways. This naming is a fitting tribute to the lasting impact he has had here.”
Jack Turner Stadium is a part of the Turner Family Sports Complex, which also is home to the Georgia Bulldogs soccer team and the Turner Soccer Complex.
“This dedication is a great way to honor one of the extraordinary supporters of our athletic program in Jack Turner and his family,” said UGA director of athletics Greg McGarity. “His fingerprints are on so many activities, programs, facilities and history of our Athletic Association. This is certainly an appropriate way to further recognize and pay tribute to the legacy of one of our greatest Bulldogs.”
Turner was named to the University of Georgia Foundation board of trustees in 1999, where he served as an active member of the investment committee. He graduated from UGA in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and was a member of Chi Psi fraternity, the Air Force ROTC and Gridiron. As an athlete, he was a letterman in both baseball and basketball.
Following graduation, he served as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and after serving his country embarked on a professional career in financial services. Turner was president and retired as chairman of the board of American Funds Distributors, a subsidiary of the American Funds Group based in Los Angeles, in 1995.
Turner dedicated much of his retirement years to UGA. His service included:
- Director of the Georgia Student Educational Fund (the forerunner to today's William C. Hartman Fund)
- Executive committee member and director of the National Alumni Association
- Member of the board of the UGA Athletic Association
- Chairman of the UGA Athletic Association finance committee
- Chairman of the UGA Athletic Association facilities committee
- Chairman of the Georgia Athletic Association Student Athletic Scholarship Endowment Fund (through which Turner endowed several scholarships)
- Founding member and partner in the Presidents Club
- Member of the Heritage Society
In addition, Turner founded the Turner Family Foundation, a private foundation that supports local charities. In 1999, he was honored by the National Football Hall of Fame for his outstanding support of amateur football, and in 2002, he was part of the inaugural class of inductees to the UGA Athletic Association’s “Circle of Distinction,” honoring his service to the organization. The Terry College of Business honored him in 2002 with its Distinguished Alumni Award for his career achievements and community service.
One of the premier softball facilities in the country, the Bulldogs have played in Jack Turner Stadium since the start of the 2004 season, compiling an impressive 234–42 record. The stadium holds close to 1,400 fans with additional standing room and features state-of-the-art amenities. It has been chosen to host three NCAA Regionals and one NCAA Super Regional since its inception. The Bulldogs hold a 17–4 record in postseason play at Jack Turner Stadium.
“We are extremely thankful and truly blessed for the support we have received from such a wonderful family in the Turners,” said UGA softball head coach Lu Harris–Champer. “Being able to play in a fan-friendly, state-of-the-art stadium has aided in creating one of the best home field advantages in the country. Additionally, having the great home facility that we do helps build confidence and is a point of pride among our student athletes.”
Both the Georgia and visiting team dugouts are connected via tunnel to locker rooms. The Bulldogs’ team area has all the needed facilities—an athletic training room, players’ lounge, game room, locker room, showers, and the coaches’ offices and coaches’ locker room. On the first base side, the visiting team has its locker room and showers along with the umpires’ locker room. A state-of-the-art press box was built as well, and the press box has suites for radio, television, and for both Georgia and the visiting team’s athletic director. The stadium is finished with an awning covering the upper section.