MIAMI — Harley Turner remembers the old days when the Miami High School softball team played its games at the city fields across from the Miami Fairgrounds.
Now, the MHS and Will Rogers Middle Schools play their games at an on-campus facility that bears his name.
“It’s a long ways from when we played across from the fairgrounds,” Turner said. “We had to haul all of our equipment in and out from out there … nothing like this.”
Turner took over for the late Harry Beggerly as the Lady Wardogs coach and oversaw construction of the field in time for the 1997 season.
It was named in Turner’s honor several years later.
“I give all the credit in the world to Roy and Margie Ross,” Turner said. “He knew everybody and knew who to put a pinch on to help us. He got a lot of things accomplished. My wife (Wanda) and I spent a lot of hours in between.
“The Rosses, the Parnells, John Cousatte and there were some others, but those were the ones you could depend on being there every evening.”
“RBI has provided a nice infusion to help finish things off and make it look really nice,” said Turner, who was the Lady Wardogs’ coach from 1987 to 1998.
“We are incredibly excited about the improvements that have taken place the past month at Turner Field,” athletic director Chad Davis said. “Our athletic department is blessed to have tremendous people who support our programs in numerous ways. RBI.Miami is one of those groups that we cannot thank enough for their efforts in bettering our softball and baseball programs and facilities. The new softball scoreboard at Turner Field is a big boost to our softball program and was much needed. I know that Coach Strack and her girls are proud to have that gorgeous scoreboard at their facility.”
RBI Miami — an organization which is helping with the renovation of Miami's baseball and softball facilities — funded a new scoreboard which is located just over the right field fence.
“With the help of our parents in the program, we got it up and running,” current Lady Wardog coach Lauren Strack said. “It really dresses up the field.”
A “Turner Field” sign has been added to the back of the press box, “which is a great addition,” Strack said.
A new sprinkler system around the apron on the field has been installed and fathers of the players demolished a shed on the third base side of the field and built a new one to store equipment.
“RBI and the booster club have been amazing over the off-season,” Strack said. “It has been a great year of improvements and there are more plans in the works.”
“HT’s contributions to Lady Wardog softball are invaluable and our program would not be where it is at today without his support,” Davis said. “His presence will always be felt with our softball program moving forward. Turner Field is a great place to watch softball and we look forward to honoring HT at a future Lady Wardog Softball game this season.”