DENTON, Texas --The University of North Texas basketball teams will have a new training facility and additional scholarship support soon, thanks to more than $2.5 million that the athletics department has raised in 30 days for the program.
“After a few short weeks of launching a capital campaign project to enhance our basketball facilities, I am happy to announce that we have accomplished our mission and will exceed our goal,” Director of Athletics Rick Villarreal said. “Thanks to the support of some of our loyal donors who have committed to fund important improvements for our program, our basketball teams will have a strong foundation for success. The University also made significant strategic investments this offseason with the hiring of coaches Tony Benford and Mike Petersen. All of these efforts will help elevate our basketball programs to new heights.”
In March of this year, the division added a basketball practice facility to the capital projects it sought to fund through UNT’s comprehensive campaign, which is still in the quiet phase. In June, a subcommittee was formed. The actual campaign to raise the funds began in July and all of the money was committed in less than 30 days.
The funds will support a brand new dedicated practice facility for Mean Green men’s and women’s basketball as well as video board improvements in the Super Pit and endowed scholarships. The practice facility will be located in the Mean Green Village and will provide a training venue devoted solely to the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Currently the men’s and women’s teams have to occasionally reserve space in facilities that are shared with other departments on campus. The new facility allows for 24 hour access to student-athletes 365 days a year.
The video board upgrade will replace a 12-year old system that has become outdated.
“When Rick explained the need for this facility and asked me to lead the effort, I had to accept,” campaign chairman and alumnus Ernie Kuehne said. “This university changed my life and put me in a position to give back. This project was special because it wasn’t in response to what other schools were building, but rather a need to fill a void for the continued development of our basketball programs.”
The new training facility will relieve some of the scheduling pressure on current facilities and allow the general student population more time on those courts.
“Personally, I wanted to raise the funds in record time to show others that it is possible at North Texas,” Athletic Campaign Chairman C. Dan Smith said. “This committee worked diligently to identify and cultivate new prospective donors and we hope it has set a standard that we will now push our remaining committees to emulate in meeting other initiatives.”
This becomes the 15th facility project executed in the Mean Green Village by the athletic department during the last seven years. Pending the university approval process, construction on the new practice facility is expected to begin this fall.