Former Nevada baseball star Don Weir, who played professionally in the Kansas City Royals organization and is a highly successful businessman in Northern Nevada, has donated $1 million to his alma mater towards a key renovation project at the baseball field on campus, the Nevada athletics department announced on Friday.
Installation of Sprinturf, a new synthetic playing surface, is underway and a new outfield fence is coming yet this offseason at what will now be known as Don Weir Field at Peccole Park. Weir’s gift, one of the most significant donations in the history of Wolf Pack baseball, is a vital part of a phased plan of upgrades at the facility, which will celebrate its 30th season in 2018.
“Our hope is that by enhancing the Nevada baseball facility at Peccole Park it will help head coach TJ Bruce be more competitive in recruiting talented student-athletes to Nevada,” Don Weir said. “By allowing TJ to recruit top quality talented student-athletes the hope is that these individuals will stay and raise families and be top contributors in business and to the community in the Northern Nevada area.”
The project at Don Weir Field includes plans for a renovated clubhouse and coaching offices for the Wolf Pack team, as well as state-of-the-art indoor batting and pitching facilities at the field. Those improvements will be included in future phases of the project.
Weir is the latest former Wolf Pack star to give a significant donation to his alma mater, joining Ramon Sessions, the NBA veteran who provided the lead gift for a basketball performance center.
“Don and Toni’s gift is another example of their incredible generosity in our community,” said Nevada athletics director Doug Knuth. “The gift will allow us to link Don’s legacy to Wolf Pack baseball so future generations of Wolf Pack baseball players will know what he means to the program and to this community. We are grateful for this very generous gift.
“This gift also illustrates the impact alumni athletes are having on their teams. In addition to Ramon Sessions and Don Weir, two incredible major gifts, hundreds of former athletes are giving back at all levels to support the Pack. I am really encouraged to see alumni athletes are increasing their participation and giving back more than ever. Alumni athletes are proud of their alma mater, their athletics program and their team.”
Don and Toni Weir will also be acknowledged for their gift at the 2018 Bobby Dolan Baseball in January.
“We are extremely humbled and honored by Don’s and Toni’s gift,” said TJ Bruce, Nevada’s head baseball coach. “This generosity will not only serve our current student-athletes as they aspire towards their dreams, but pave the way for years of championship sustainability here at Nevada. This gift speaks volumes, not only to Don’s commitment to our current and future student-athletes, but to his own incredibly positive experience here at Nevada. It is another example why this University and the community are so special.”
A Danville, Calif., native, Weir starred at Nevada from 1967-69, playing for Wolf Pack Hall of Fame coach Bill Ireland. A right-handed pitcher with a fastball in the mid-90s, Weir signed after his Nevada career to play professionally in the Kansas City Royals organization.
Weir’s grandfather, father and uncle all worked for and owned car dealerships and Weir became the third generation of his family to work in the automobile business. He began in 1965 while in college as a lot boy in the car wash. After professional baseball, Weir returned to Reno and began working his way up at Reno Dodge. He started in service and then moved to parts before going over to the sales side. He would become the dealership’s finance manager and then general sales manager before ascending to the general manager position in 1983. In 1991, he purchased the dealership from his father and took over the ownership of Reno Dodge.
In addition to his long-standing commitment to Wolf Pack athletics, Weir and Reno Dodge have been the primary automotive sponsor of the Reno Rodeo and served the Reno Rodeo Foundation for more than 30 years. The dealership has also been strong supporters of the Nevada Humane Society and the Boys & Girls Club. Weir and his wife, Toni, are involved in Casa de Vida and support the Alzheimer’s Association in their efforts to find a cure.
The renovation underway at Don Weir Field is the latest in a string of facility improvements at Nevada. In addition to the Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center, Nevada ushered in an $11.5 million renovation at Mackay Stadium and a separate project brought new video boards to Mackay and Lawlor, and a new sound system at the football stadium.
The Pack has also seen new facilities come on board for the tennis and track programs, with six new on-campus tennis courts and a new throws facility developed on the eastern edge of campus, next to Hixson Park. A new silver and blue track now encircles Mackay Stadium. The projects came on the heels of new turf installation at Wolf Pack Park, locker room upgrades for women’s soccer, track and field, cross country, football and both basketball programs, as well as an enhanced indoor golf training center.
(University of Nevada, Reno)