On Saturday April 22, 2006, St. Thomas Baseball program opened Koch Diamond on campus. Between games of a doubleheader against MIAC archrival Saint John's, a ceremony took place honoring baseball alumnus David Koch, whose major gift covered the cost of the $300,000 Koch Diamond project, which included 150 new bleacher seats and state-of-the-art FieldTurf infield. Koch, a 1952 St. Thomas graduate in business administration, is the former CEO of Graco Industries of Minneapolis, a worldwide industry specializing in fluid handling systems and components. Koch was named Distinguished UST Alumnus in 1981 and chaired the university’s Century II Capital campaign in the 1980s. The campaign raised $83 million after starting with a goal of $35 million.
Koch, a standout pitcher with the Tommies, was a tremendous all-around athlete who received a football scholarship to Notre Dame. He played on the Irish’s 1949 national championship team that finished 10-0. One of his close friends was teammate Leon Hart, who is one of just two linemen ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Koch returned to Minnesota and finished his college degree at St. Thomas.
The Koch Diamond is flanked by two residence halls Morrison Hall, opened in 1998, and Flynn Hall, opened in 2005. The turf allows for more flexibility in March and early April when snow and rain often postpone opponents’ games and practices. There is only one cutout in the artificial turf – the pitching mound. The original turf infield was replaced in the summer of 2017, when the facility underwent a significant renovation, including construction of new batting cages down the right field line, new bullpens near both dugouts, new fencing, and new netting behind home plate.
Home Field Advantage
St. Thomas has enjoyed its time at Koch Diamond. Tommie baseball has accumulated a winning percentage of .793 at home since 2006 thanks to a home record of 138-36. The Tommies had a Division III-best 54-game home winning streak at the Koch Diamond beginning on May 2, 2010 and spanned the next four seasons without a loss at home before coming to an end on March 30, 2015.