RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Flying Squirrels held their third annual Hot Stove Banquet at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday night. However, this year's event had a very VCU feel.
The night was set up to honor late VCU Baseball Head Coach Paul Keyes, who lost his courageous battle with cancer in November 2012, as well as celebrate the start of a new baseball season here in Richmond. All proceeds from the event went to the newly established Paul Keyes Memorial Scholarship Fund.
"Coach wanted to continue to impact the program and wanted to make sure the program was left in the players hands," said VCU Coach Shawn Stiffler. "By setting up this scholarship, we are giving a player, probably a local one, the opportunity to live his dream to play college baseball."
The Squirrels also announced that they will hold Paul Keyes Day at the Diamond on Sunday May, 5 (5/5). The Flying Squirrels will take on the Trenton Thunder and the game will be followed by a VCU Baseball doubleheader against Saint Louis. As part of the day, the Flying Squirrels will wear special black and gold jerseys with number 5 over the heart. Following the game the jerseys will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Paul Keyes Memorial Scholarship.
"He wasn't just the baseball coach at VCU, he was our brother and our friend," said Todd "Parney" Parnell, the Squirrels' COO.
The Squirrels also renamed their Richmond Baseball Impact award to the Paul Keyes Impact award. The award has been present over the past three years, to someone who has made a tremendous impact on the Richmond Baseball community.
Through a silent and live auction, the Squirrels set Hot Stove records, with all of the money raised being donated to the Paul Keyes Scholarship fund.