MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 30, 2021) – West Virginia University graduates and supporters Rick and Jay Wagener have contributed a major gift of $1 million to the WVU baseball program.
The donation will help with the maintenance and upkeep at Monongalia County Ballpark, as well as assist in the team’s greatest needs. For their generosity, the Wageners’ namesake will be recognized on the field beginning in 2022, and known as Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark.
“It’s gifts like this one from Rick and Jay Wagener that help our athletics department compete at the highest level, “Director of Athletics Shane Lyons said. “They met at West Virginia University as freshmen and never forgot their Mountaineer beginnings. The Wageners have been very generous to our department and baseball program through the years, and it’s going to be special to see the Wagener name on the field. To honor Rick and Jay, our goal is to make Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark one of the best home-field advantages in college baseball.”
“Rick was a tremendous player at West Virginia and into his pro career and has become a great friend and supporter to this program,” WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey said. “The generosity between him and his wife, Jay, is extremely appreciated, both to the team, as well as me personally. I want to thank them for all they have done for Mountaineer baseball.”
Rick Wagener, who is a 1971 graduate with a degree in industrial management from WVU’s College of Business & Economics and former member of the WVU baseball team, serves as the managing partner and registered principal at Wagener-Lee, LLC, a financial and investment advisor located in Columbia, Maryland. In all, he has practiced comprehensive financial planning and portfolio management for more than 30 years. Prior to that, Wagener spent three seasons in the New York Mets organization from 1971-73, after being selected by the club in the second round of the 1971 January Secondary Draft.
Wagener also is a founding partner of Heavy Seas Brewery, which was established in 1995.
“Baseball brought me to West Virginia, and baseball has brought us back,” Rick Wagener said. “I’m overwhelmed with how lucky I’ve been, and how my time at WVU influenced so many moments in my life.”
“After classes and studying, I always enjoyed heading outside to watch my favorite sport: Baseball,” Jay Wagener explained. “Sometimes, my future husband would even be pitching. I am so happy we are able to support the student-athletes and coaches now and into the future.”
Wagener, a left-handed pitcher from Linthicum, Maryland, finished with an impressive 16-3 overall record and a 1.79 ERA at West Virginia from 1968-71. He tossed 156.0 career innings at WVU, totaling 193 strikeouts in 26 career outings. Wagener was WVU’s strikeouts leader for three straight seasons from 1969-71, and led the club in wins in 1971. All time, he ranks No. 2 in program history in strikeouts per nine innings (11.13) and No. 5 in career ERA (1.79).
Of note, Wagener was the first-ever freshman to play at the varsity level for the Mountaineers in 1968.
Away from the field, Wagener is a proud alumnus of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He credits his friends, fraternity and baseball as influential factors in his remained connection and engagement at WVU, as well as many other areas of his life.
Jay Wagener also is a WVU graduate, earning her degree in political science in 1971. She was the president of her sorority, Kappa Delta, and stayed involved with the chapter for several years. The couple first met in freshman economics class at West Virginia and have now been married for 49 years. Upon graduation, Jay, a lifelong baseball fan, spent time in the real estate industry as a property manager and agent, before dedicating her life to raising and supporting her family.
Rick and Jay have two daughters, Jenifer and Amanda, and currently reside in Ellicott City, Maryland.
The Wageners’ support for Mountaineer baseball has been felt for a number of years. The family currently sponsors the Wagener-Gearhart Baseball Scholarship, and they generously donated a gift to help in the first wave of renovations at the ballpark, which included the installation of the coaches’ suite and team room.