March 17: Dedication of Baseball Grandstands Will Honor Beloved Athlete

Feb 01, 2018


1977 baseball team with Kathryn Whitehouse StephensMembers of Randolph-Macon College's 1977 baseball team will unveil commemorative plaques honoring John Buehler '78 on March 17, 2018 at 12:00 p.m., prior to the 3 p.m. game vs. Guilford at Hugh Stephen Field at Estes Park. The grandstands will be named for Buehler, a standout athlete and cherished member of the R-MC community who died in 2013. This event is free and open to the public. Map and Directions

Honoring John Buehler '78
In 2017, the 1977 baseball team held a 40-year reunion celebration on campus. The group announced at that time their plans to raise funds to name the grandstands at Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park in memory of Buehler. The team reached its fundraising goal earlier this year.

At the reunion, which was held in conjunction with Dugout Day, the team was brought onto the field and took part in the first pitch. Kolden Buehler, John Buehler's son, threw the first pitch and was presented a #15 jersey—his father's number— by Head Baseball Coach Ray Hedrick.

Attending the March 17 unveiling will be Buehler's family, including his parents, sisters, and children.

A Team with Distinction
The 1977 baseball team, coached by the late Hugh Stephens and led by All-ODAC members Dave Bristow '78, Wayne Elliot '78, Jeff White '78, and Larry McAlexander '79, was the first Randolph-Macon team to be invited to the NCAA DII baseball tournament at the South Atlantic Regional in Valdosta, Georgia. The team was also the first to win 20 games in a season. Their overall record was 22-7 and 12-2 in the ODAC and they finished the ODAC regular season with the best record.

Elliott and Bristow led the conference in home runs, finishing 1st and 2nd on the list respectively, and finishing 2nd and 3rd on the RBI list. R-MC had 25 home runs in the season, more than double the number of home runs for its closest competitor. McAlexander, one of the pitchers for the Yellow Jackets, started 12 games during the regular season, and led the conference in wins (9), with a 1.41 ERA. In 1983, team member Gregg Waters '78 returned to his alma mater as the head baseball coach, leading the program until 2006.

Generous Donors
"David Bristow first brought the idea of a reunion to our attention in spring 2016," says R-MC Director of Development for Athletics Mark Hipes, who initially worked with Bristow and Mark Person '78 to begin planning the reunion. "Early on, Dave and Mark decided they wanted to make a gift to the baseball program a part of their plans. A gift committee was formed with Dave, Mark, Billy Jones '79, Gregg Waters '78, Wes Graves '80, and Ben Ashton '78 and the decision was made to name the grandstands in memory of John Buehler. Of note is that Billy Jones and his wife Margo announced at the reunion that they would make a leadership gift that, when matched, would reach the goal." Since that time, many generous donors helped bring this project to completion.

A Special Tribute
Kathryn Whitehouse Stephens, Hugh Stephens' widow, who was at the 2017 reunion, died October 18, 2017. The Yellow Jacket baseball team will honor her throughout the 2018 season by wearing special "KWS" patches on their uniforms.