Buffalo Stadium to be renamed following $5 million gift


By Chip Chandler 

Two families whose generosity to West Texas A&M University stretches back generations now have given an additional $5 million to the University, officials announced today.

In recognition, the premiere football stadium in all of Division II Athletics will now bear their names: The Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium.

“Today’s announcement highlights two generations of the Bain and Schaeffer families working together, as they have for a half-century, to make WT the Panhandle’s University,” said Dr. Todd Rasberry, vice president for philanthropy and external relations, in prepared remarks.

Ray Bain attended WT, then became president of First State Bank of Dimmitt in 1985. In 1987, he joined with Stanley Schaeffer and a small group of investors to purchase the bank, which became known as First United Bank in 1994. Today, the bank has expanded to 17 locations across 13 West Texas cities. Bain died in 2013; Schaeffer currently serves as director emeritus.

“The Bain and Schaeffer names are known across this campus, not only in visible ways on some 17 spaces and facilities around the University, but also on millions of dollars’ in endowments that support students, faculty and programs across the academic units and athletes,” Rasberry said.

Mike Bain, First United Bank president, said it is “a tremendous honor for us to join the legacy pioneered by our parents.”

“We are elated to further build upon that legacy and be part of one of the final pieces of the revitalization of WT’s campus,” Bain said. “The monumental changes creating the new look and feel of the WT campus over the last 10 to 15 years has been nothing short of amazing. But with all of this progress comes opportunity, and there is more to be done. We look forward to welcoming others as they join us in the commitment to WT as it has meant so much to us and countless others.”

David Schaeffer said he hopes the stadium name would be an example to others.

“Originally, we were not chasing a naming opportunity, just attempting to help WT in a much-needed area,” Schaeffer said. “But we were mentored by the late philanthropist Shirley Garrison, who always said to take a naming not as a gift and not as a self-importance builder, but as an example to others,” Schaeffer said. “If our families can do this, yours can do something, too. It might be larger or smaller, but you can do something. Our families taught us all from their humble beginnings to their lasting legacies that anything can be done if the desire is there.”

The $5 million gift puts WT closer to reaching the historic, $125 million goal of the One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. It follows a Feb. 21 announcement that the Stanley Schaeffer family would give $2.5 million to name the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building in memory of their late matriarch.

The One West campaign is the fuel for the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

“The Bain and Schaeffer families, along with a small group of others, have created a transformative legacy at WT through their engagement, persistence and support,” said University President Walter V. Wendler in prepared remarks. “When you look across the higher education landscape, you see that very few institutions have a donor legacy like we do here at WT. Philanthropic support is the difference between good universities and great universities — and we all agree, WT is a great University.”

The $38-million Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium was completed in 2019 and officially brought football back to campus on Sept. 6, 2019, after 60 years at the former Kimbrough Memorial Stadium north of Canyon.

“The Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium is a highlight for WT Athletics,” said WT Athletic Director Michael McBroom in prepared remarks. “Countless players, coaches and fans—not only from WT, but from area high schools and communities who have the honor to play in this stadium—will experience Buff Pride through this named facility.”

WT Football Coach Hunter Hughes echoed McBride.

“Every football team that walks down that ramp to enter Bain-Schaffer Buffalo Stadium, will know the standard for play is more than just playing for WT,” Hughes said. “The names on that stadium represent a love for this University, an outstanding work ethic, community involvement and commitment to be the best. What an honor it will be for myself, and this coaching staff, to lead the Buffaloes on the field with those same standards that Ray and Barbara Bain, Stanley and Geneva Schaeffer, and their families have set upon us.”

Along with the stadium, the Bain Athletic Center also serves as a cornerstone of the excellence of WT Athletics “that is second to none in the Lone Star Conference, Division II NCAA Athletics and the State of Texas,” Wendler said.

The Athletic Center facility, the vision of Ray and Barbara Bain, is in Phase III of construction. When complete, the facility will house sports performance, sports medicine, football and Olympic sport offices, academic success programs, team meeting rooms and the Hall of Champions.

The Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium seats 8,500 along the west and east sides with an estimated total capacity of 12,000 when including overflow berm seating and standing-room-only space at the concourse level. Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium offers opportunities for future expansion of up to 14,000 permanent seats.

The stadium features a video scoreboard structure that sits on the north end zone and a ribbon board system along the front of the east and west upper decks, and a concourse provides full circulation for patrons around the stadium. Additionally, the stadium was one of the first university stadiums in the country to run on a WiFi 6 network.

Among the campus landmarks named for the families are Schaeffer Softball Park, the Bain Athletic Center, the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building, the Stanley Schaeffer Agriculture Education Learning Lab, the Bain Events Center and the Piehl-Schaeffer Pavilion.

The First United Bank Center, named for the bank founded by Ray Bain with Stanley Schaeffer, opened in January 2002. Home to Buff and Lady Buff basketball, the facility has seating for 5,000 and a scoreboard with a large video screen. The center is commonly used for WT’s commencement exercises and a host of other public events including high school playoff games, conventions and freshmen convocation.

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