While construction on Blair Field remains in its early stages, the project has received a major boost in the form of a $1 million gift from longtime supporter Marilyn Bohl. The renovations at Blair are dependent on continued financial support, and this donation marks a significant step forward for the project—one that is of great personal significance to Bohl.
“Blair Field in an icon, not just of Long Beach State, but of the City of Long Beach and of the surrounding community,” Bohl says. “It has a rich tradition—the Dirtbags play here, but a lot of the high school teams play their home games here, and talented high school students from across the country converge here for camps. We in this project can build a facility that we can be proud of, that will help to put Dirtbags baseball, Long Beach city baseball, and Southern California baseball, really on the map.”
Many recognize Marilyn Bohl as a supporter of Long Beach State’s men’s basketball program. In 2008, she pledged $200,000 to establish the Marilyn Bohl Endowed Athletic Scholarship, and she is among the most consistent supporters of the team from her courtside seat at Walter Pyramid. But she also has a deep love for baseball, and has been a faithful supporter of the Dirtbags.
Since her days growing up in Marble Rock, Iowa, Bohl has had a strong connection to America’s pastime. Her family would make an annual trip from their small town to watch one of the surrounding teams in the Midwest: the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Braves. She maintains that love of baseball to this day and she feels a special atmosphere each time she visits Blair.
“For me, baseball is family and fun,” she explains. “When you look at the stands at Blair Field, you see dads, moms, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, neighbors, kids running around all over. Baseball is family, baseball is fun.”
In her professional life, Bohl worked for IBM for over two decades. During that time she was the project manager for the DB2 relational database management system. In her spare time, she has authored nine collegiate textbooks on computing, some of which are still in use by major universities today.
Bohl’s support of the athletic department both as a fan and a financial contributor has been invaluable, and it has fostered a strong relationship with the administration and the coaches on campus.
“Marilyn is the kind of person we want involved not just as a donor, but as a supporter,” says LBSU senior associate athletic director Wayne Stickney. “She understands what it takes to make the Dirtbags a contender – she has worked hard to earn everything she has today. Our hope is that Marilyn’s support inspires our alumni and friends to make additional commitments to this project.”
“On behalf of our program, we would like to extend our gratitude, appreciation & humility for Marilyn’s generous gift,” says Dirtbags head coach Troy Buckley. “Her commitment will benefit the welfare of our current and future student-athletes with the renovations at Blair Field. I would also personally like to thank her for her friendship and her loyalty to our university and this program.”
This is not the first time Bohl has gotten behind a facility renovation. Back in Marble Rock, when her old high school gymnasium was in need of repair, Marilyn and her twin sister Arline stepped up with the funding to replace the hardwood they used to play on as star basketball players. The new facility was named for their father, and on May 16, 2001, the Walter F. Bohl Community Center was opened in Marble Rock, and it continues to host numerous community events each year.
Arline’s name now adorns the entrance of the Mike & Arline Walter Pyramid, and with this gift, Marilyn is continuing her family’s legacy of giving back to the community. Baseball has long been one of Marilyn Bohl’s passions, and she hopes the renovations at Blair Field will help make a specific dream of hers come true very soon.
“I want to go to the College World Series in Omaha in support of a team that I really care about,” she declares. “I’d like to think that this donation that I’m making to Blair Field can be a major step in helping the Dirtbags to get there.”