Dedication of Dean Linder Press Box, ribbon cutting for Ranger Field turf scheduled for Sept. 12

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Dedication of Dean Linder Press Box, ribbon cutting for Ranger Field turf scheduled for Sept. 12

September 1, 2015

Dean Linder Press Box and Ranger Field Newly constructed Dean Linder Press Box & Ranger Football Field is ready for ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony.

The home football opener for Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Saturday, Sept. 12, will take on special meaning this year as the school celebrates the completion of two major stadium improvement projects.

Northwestern will officially dedicate the Dean Linder Press box during a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on the west plaza area of the structure. The facility is named in honor of the longtime radio voice of the Rangers and retired district judge.

The University also will conduct a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new artificial turf surface during on-field pregame ceremonies that will begin at approximately 6:45 p.m. Donors to the turf project will be publicly recognized at that time.

“It will be a very special day at Northwestern,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “Not only do we get to celebrate the completion of two major athletic facility projects, but we also will have the opportunity to honor the lifetime contributions to Northwestern of Dean Linder, and say a very public thank you to the donors who provided the private funding for both projects.”

The Dean Linder Press Box is a state-of-the-art, two-story structure that contains 10,000 square feet of useable space. Fans will benefit from an expanded concession area that is now on the west side of the structure, along with a retail shop and public restrooms, an amenity not available in the old press box.

The first level of the press box contains three suites, one expanded suite for university use and two other smaller suites that have been leased to fans. The second level, accessible by stairs and elevator, contain all game management operations, including private rooms for coaches and media use.

“There was only one name that seemed appropriate for our new press box, and everyone at Northwestern is thrilled that it will bear the name of Dean Linder,” Cunningham said. “Judge Linder has meant so much to the athletic history of Northwestern and is one of the most iconic figures in the history of Alva.”

A native of Waynoka, Linder began broadcasting football and basketball games in 1962 on radio station KALV, bringing home the action to fans with his combination of sports knowledge, a little humor and his signature sign-off line, “I hope you will continue to be… real good sports.”

In 1998, Linder was inducted into Northwestern’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Linder ended his judicial career earlier this year, retiring as a District Judge in the Fourth Judicial District of Oklahoma. During his time on the bench, Linder was named Trial Judge of the Year four times.

Primary funding for the press box was provided by the Charles Morton Share Trust.

The artificial turf playing surface at Ranger Field replaces the natural grass surface that was original with the stadium when it was first used in 1969. Ranger Field is now one of only a handful of football venues in western Oklahoma that will use an artificial surface.

“An artificial playing surface is the norm in Division II football and an expectation of many student-athletes from larger high schools,” Cunningham said. “The surface gives Northwestern and Alva High School (which uses Ranger Field for games), an all-weather, multi-purpose competition venue. In addition, we will significantly reduce water consumption and manpower used for field maintenance.”

The surface prominently features the school’s iconic Ranger logo at midfield, along with two Pioneer Cellular logos on the playing surface.

“The support of Pioneer Cellular made the project a reality,” Cunningham said. “They were the first group to step up and contribute financially. Their partnership with Northwestern inspired others to participate.”

Additional donors to the project include the Charles Morton Share Trust, Alva State Bank, BancCentral National Association, Larry and Joy Glass, Gloria Metcalf and the Alva Community Foundation.

Northwestern’s football team, led by new coach Matt Walter, will take on Southern Arkansas University in the home opener of the 2015 season at 7 p.m.

-NW-