A Hartman Park baseball field was renamed on July 19 in honor of Redmond baseball coach, Les Dow.
The Les Dow Field sign is a legacy of the Little League coach who left a lasting impact on hundreds of people’s lives.
“The city of Redmond is proud to honor Les Dow and the Dow family by recognizing their contributions and achievements and by naming this field after Les,” Mayor John Marchione said that sunny Friday. “Thank you to the whole family and thank you to Les.”
Dow, who died of cancer in August 2018, spent 46 years as a coach, sponsor and administrator for the betterment of youth baseball in Redmond. His philosophy was that he was teaching more than ball. He believed he was teaching life lessons as well, according to his wife Erin Dow.
The Redmond City Council approved the naming of the full-sized baseball field at Hartman Park on May 21. The sign was a culmination of several months, Erin said, but the result was everything they hoped for.
“It was maybe the happiest moment we’ve had in a very long time as a family,” she said. “When I saw that sign for the first time that night, I cried. I knew [Les] was there. The [sun] rays were just beaming. I thought, ‘You are here.’”
Erin said the new sign is something she can’t wrap her head around. And if it wasn’t for the mayor, council and the parks department, the sign would have not happened.
“Years from now, his name is still going to be on that field,” she said. “He spent so much time on that field. He loved that field.”
Les was president and board director for Redmond Little League, president and board director of Redmond Baseball Association (RBA) where he penned “The Book,” the original rule book. Les also designed, financed and helped build the RBA concession stand and donated the dirt and equipment to complete the two final Hartman Park Little League fields.
According to the family, Les coached nearly 14,000 players over the years. Two-hundred fifty of those players participated at the college level, many played in the minor leagues and 12 players advanced into Major League Baseball. Many of the players continue to give back by becoming coaches themselves, including his three children Dan Dow, Chrissy Dow Russell and Mark Dow.
Redmond native, Brant Ust is one of those players. Now living in Alabama, the 41-year-old is the associate athletics director at Auburn University. Ust said Les was a special part of his and many other people’s lives and the recognition by the city was “truly deserving.”
“Coach Dow believed in you and brought out in all of us a toughness and grit that would endure throughout our baseball, athletic and personal lives,” he said. “I am also forever grateful to coach for surrounding me with special teammates who are still friends to this day.”
Ust said he joined the Dow Baseball Club in 1993. After playing for the club, Ust said he went on to play collegiate baseball at the University of Notre Dame and then for nine years professionally (reaching AAA). He also coached at the University of Michigan, directed the 18U national team for USA Baseball and as part of his current administrative duties, he works with Auburn baseball.
“Figure it out” was one of Les’s favorite and most impactful sayings when he was coaching players.
For Ust it means: “Those who love and care for you, as he did as a coach, can ultimately put you in a position for success — but you must endure, learn and be better by figuring it out. It’s about accountability.”
According to Erin, Les was a master at identifying people’s talents and he was a great supporter —a supporter to everyone he loved including his kids, family, and even his players.
“He sure left a huge hole in our lives,” Erin said. “But we promised we would figure it out. And we’re trying every day.”