Rich Siegert is familiar with rounding the bases of the softball field, as he was an active member in intramural sports during his time at Bemidji State University. Now the same site is home to the BSU softball team, but Siegert’s footprint still shows up in the dirt.
“I am familiar with the site,” said Siegert, a 1967 graduate. “I used to play intramural softball at the same site when I was at Bemidji State. So it turned out to be a nice project.”
Siegert and his wife, Joyce – who own the Green Mill, Hampton Inn, and DoubleTree of Bemidji – have long contributed to Beaver Athletics and academics. Thanks to the Siegerts and other supporters who contributed during a recent fundraising campaign, a new state-of-the-art scoreboard will elevate the game-day experience for the softball program.
“The girls really appreciate it,” Rich Siegert said. “I went to the fundraiser, and everyone was very positive and appreciative. Multiple players and parents came up to me and thanked me.”
The green scoreboard rises up above the left-field fence, which proudly displays “Bemidji State” and an elevated Beaver head logo at the top. A banner featuring the Green Mill logo is stripped across the bottom. The Daktronics scoreboard is equipped with all the bells and whistles for every BSU home game.
Jordan Petersen has coached the Beavers since 2021 and has dealt with the frustrations of a dated, often inoperable scoreboard that was 15 years old. She is looking forward to opening up the 2024 season with Bemidji State’s latest improvement.
“We are so thankful for the donations made by Rich, alumni, and friends and families,” said Petersen. “It elevates our ability to recruit and showcase Bemidji State softball. It also gives our current players something to be proud of when we play home games. Something we can show off.”
Coming off its best season in six years, BSU softball hopes the scoreboard will contribute to its game-day experience.
“The tailgating and atmosphere of game days are going to be better than ever now that we have an exciting new addition to our field,” sophomore outfielder Grace Gumiela said. “We are so proud to be able to play in front of it.”
“The new scoreboard means the world to our program,” senior pitcher Stella Dolan added. “It’s been awesome to have the community rally around our team in order to make this happen. We cannot wait to get on the dirt this spring to show it off.”
Beavers finished 24-27 in the 2023 season and made their first trip to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament in six years. With help from supporters like Siegert, BSU is poised to take the next step toward the top of the conference.
“We are working at making improvements to the softball field, and the scoreboard is just one step in that process,” Petersen said. “Success won’t happen overnight, but taking it step by step will grow Bemidji State softball. The support of the alumni, family, friends, community and donors will help the softball team be successful.”