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Delta State to dedicate Crawford Center, Ferriss Museum to open Saturday

By March 19, 2007General

The Robert L. Crawford Center at the Dave “Boo” Ferriss Baseball Complex at Delta State University. The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum, which is housed inside the Robert L. Crawford Center at the Delta State University baseball complex, is set to open this Saturday. Former Statesmen head coach “Boo” Ferriss has donated much of his storied memorabilia collection to the University for the Museum project.

A perennial powerhouse in Division II athletics, Delta State University boasts some of the finest athletic facilities in the nation, and this Saturday, March 24, those facilities are only going to get better.

Delta State will officially dedicate the Robert L. Crawford Center this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Statesmen baseball complex. Made possible through a generous gift by former Delta State baseball player, John Crawford; wife, Beth and mother, Mabel, the Crawford Center will bear the name of John’s father, Robert, who was an ardent supporter of the Statesmen program.

As the main entrance and exit point for all future Statesmen baseball games at Dave “Boo” Ferriss Field, the facility has allowed for expanded restroom and concession areas, an umpire’s locker room and a merchandising stand. Most significant, though, the Crawford Center houses The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum.

“Inning by Inning: A Life in Baseball, The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum” chronicles the former long-time Statesmen head coach’s illustrious career – including photos and personal memorabilia from his early days at Shaw High School, to a young man at Mississippi State, to the height of his career with the Boston Red Sox, to his days at the helm of his beloved Delta State program.

Five large, glass-enclosed display cases will feature much of Ferriss’ vast memorabilia collection, including a wool uniform, gloves and an official Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinal World Series pennant.

University archivist, Emily Weaver has designed the museum space, including case layouts, floor plan and traffic flow. She partnered with University Relations’ graphic designer, Laura Fleeman to design the panels that will hang behind each case. 

“We wanted to be very mindful of flow in our designs,” Weaver explained. “We knew this space would attract a lot of attention from several different audiences, and we worked very hard to be sure traffic will flow smoothly without much congestion.

“The cases, themselves, will run in chronological order – inning by inning, if you will,” she continued. “We document Coach’s career just as it happened in real time.”

Not be lost though, current Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison cautions, the facility, itself, would not be possible, if not for his former teammate. “Without the support of the Crawford family, The Dave “Boo” Ferriss Museum would not be possible. Their generosity will ensure the continuation of this baseball program’s legacy of success for years to come. It is a great facility that will surely enhance the whole baseball operation. More than just baseball fans will want to see Coach’s memorabilia, and we want everyone to know they’re invited to tour the facility…especially on game days.

“The entire facility just makes it a better day at the ball park for our fans. Not many, if any, programs in the nation will be able to claim the facilities we have, and that’s huge for our program – that distinction separates us,” Kinnison concluded.

Crawford’s former head coach, Ferriss offered, “I am so blessed and thankful to have coached John. He was one of the finest guys to ever wear a Delta State baseball uniform, a top player and strong competitor. The Crawfords have been tremendous supporters of our program for years. They have supported us like few others and I am excited this facility bears their name.

“I am honored and humbled by the decision to have a special section in the Crawford Center, and you can bet that there will be a lot of DSU memorabilia in there,” Ferriss promised. “I am glad I have some things of interest to our community, the University family and alumni and baseball fans everywhere. I have been truly blessed with my association with Delta State and the Red Sox, and I am indeed grateful to the Yawkey Foundation/Boston Red Sox for its substantial gift in funding this project.”

A four-year letterman and two-time All-American selection, Crawford was a member of the Statesmen program from 1975-1978. Arguably as modest and humble as his former coach, Crawford stressed, “This gift to Delta State University is from the entire Crawford family. My father was an avid supporter and fan of Delta State baseball, while my mother was a baseball fan of her son.”

The building dedication is free an open to the public. The Ferriss Museum will also be open to the public following the dedication ceremony.

Also following the dedication, fans are encouraged to stay for the Statesmen’s Gulf South Conference doubleheader. Delta State will play host to Christian Brothers University at 3 p.m.