Terry Francona is known as one of baseball's nice guys, and on Tuesday he put his money where his mouth is. Literally. The University of Arizona announced that the Cleveland Indians skipper donated $1 million to his alma mater and their baseball program.
The money will go towards a new hitting facility for the school's baseball team, which will be named after Francona, and will be part of a multi-million dollar capital gains project to benefit the baseball program as a whole.
Francona, who spends his off-seasons in Tucson explained the decision in a statement released by the school.
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"Since I moved back to Tucson four years ago, it has been a priority of mine to give back to the University of Arizona," Francona said. "The reason I am doing this is because of the impact the University has had on my life. The people at the University of Arizona gave me an opportunity to go to the professional level, and not just survive, but be prepared. That's a big reason why I want to give back."
Long before Francona became a two-time World Series champion and one of the best managers in the game, he was one of the most accomplished players in the history of the Arizona baseball program.
He played three seasons at Arizona from 1978-80, leading the Wildcats to a national championship in his final season. He won the Golden Spikes Award as National Player of the Year in 1980 after hitting .401 with nine home runs and 84 RBI.
Construction of the Terry Francona Hitting Facility will begin this summer and the school hopes to have it completed by the fall.