April 12, 2008
Linda Demo: "This stadium means that Melissa will never be forgotten. For generations to come, it will give girls the opportunity to play in one of the finest softball facilities in the country. It's been an overwhelming experience, and one of the happiest weekends I've ever had."
Paul Demo: "Notre Dame is a family. And no one will ever understand how much of a family they are to us."
Notre Dame head softball coach Deanna Gumpf
On the opening of Melissa Cook Stadium ...
"Today was amazing. To be able to celebrate this occasion with Paul and Linda Demo this morning, that's really what mattered most today. Having the games scheduled for today was actually a bonus. We're blessed and honored and couldn't be happier."
On the excitement of the Notre Dame softball players throughout the day ...
"We were upset about not being able to play. The girls would have done anything to have been able to take the field. They didn't care about the weather. They just wanted to play ball and play for Melissa and her family, friends, and fans. It's unfortunate we could not get the games in because we were ready to go."
On the impact of Melissa Cook Stadium on the Irish softball program ...
"It just finishes things here for us. It's not just softball here at Notre Dame, and that's what sets us apart from everyone else."
Former Notre Dame head softball coach Liz Miller
On what Melissa Cook Stadium means to the Irish softball program ...
"I think this stadium signifies the next step forward for this program. When we started the program in the beginning we kept asking: what's the next thing we can do to help this program grow? And I think this is a big part of it - we can now host NCAA Regionals which we couldn't do it the past, and for recruiting purposes it will help put us over the top."
On her memories of Melissa Cook ...
"I knew Melissa when I first starting coaching with the program in the fall of 1991. She loved Notre Dame softball and followed the program even after she graduated. The players and team loved her. She was a character, to say the least. I have so many memories of Melissa, like the time the home plate at Ivy Field came up missing. I told the players to go find Melissa because I knew she had it. She snuck in the night before and literally dug out home plate and took it with her (as a playful joke). But that's just the way Melissa was - she was fun to be around. And having this dedication and this stadium in her memory is absolutely tremendous. While her parents (Paul and Linda Demo) spoke this morning, all I could think about was how difficult it must have been for them. But what they said meant everything. It was truly a gracious thing they did for Notre Dame and they spoke all about giving. I truly believed what they were saying, and I know Melissa did too."
Senior second baseman Katie Laing
On the excitement of opening day at Melissa Cook Stadium ...
"Our favorite part of the day was running out for warm-ups and seeing the fans cheer us on. It was a thrill to get out there in such a wonderful atmosphere."
Senior outfielder Sarah Smith
On how the team feels about being a part of the stadium's historic opening day ...
"We all feel so lucky and blessed to be a part of this day. Even though the sun wasn't shining our spirits were as high as they'll ever be."