This story was written by Joe Nelson 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A graduate of University High School has pledged to donate up to $1 million towards the funding of a new baseball and softball complex.

Nancy Pride Raley, the sister of UHS Athletic Hall of Famer Ronald “Duke” Pride, has agreed to donate $750,000 towards the construction of the approximately $4 million project. The donation also includes a separate $250,000 donation that will be used at a later date to help support building state-of-the-art baseball and softball fields with modern amenities not seen in other high schools in Monongalia County.

“It’s really exciting news—just an incredible, generous donation given by Nancy in honor of her brother, whose memory she wants to keep alive,” said Sports Complex at UHS Committee Heidi Metheny.

According to Metheny, the donation is made in tribute to the former multi-sport athlete who still holds the all-time single-game scoring record in UHS basketball history. The new UHS Sports Complex, which will include complete baseball and softball fields with modern amenities for both athletes and fans, will be named after Pride as part of the agreement with Raley. Metheney also mentioned that Raley’s husband, who was also a University High School athlete, will also have his name added to the baseball field as part of the $250,000 donation.

“Nancy wanted to honor her brother with this donation to have the sports complex named after him,” said Metheny regarding some of the details of the agreement. “Additionally, she donated, in her husband’s honor, to have the baseball stadium named after her husband,” she said.

Raley, a UHS graduate herself, is not the only former Hawk who has participated in helping to make the UHS Sports Complex a reality. According to Metheny, former University Hawk and Major League Baseball player Jedd Gyorko consulted in the design process for the UHS Sports Complex, which will have complete warmup mounds and batting cages, along with modernized seating, stadium scoreboards, and concession areas. This is also separate from the numerous, small-dollar donations that have been received by UHS alumni since last year. With these contributions, added to financial backing from the Monongalia County Board of Education, Metheny has confidence that the $4 million goal could be reached by this year.

“With Nancy’s generous contribution, we’re about $900,000 away from making this a reality,” Metheny said.

With the new donation, Metheney stated that she hopes this will open the doors for local business partnerships to help bridge the less than $1 million gap that now separates construction of the UHS Sports Complex from taking place. Along with the donation from Raley, the Monongalia County Board of Education approved a $2 million match with the Sports Complex at UHS Committee earlier in 2024, which will be fully realized once the other $2 million is received in donations. Now past the halfway point, Metheny is hopeful that the community will help make the vision a reality.

“We’ve really been pounding the pavement on the local businesses in the area, really trying to get the word out that we’re going to make this happen,” said Metheny.

Donations are still being accepted at the Sports Complex at UHS website.

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