Since his appointment as head men’s basketball coach in September, Kevin Ollie ’95 (CLAS) has talked about the loyalty of his student-athletes to the University, the legacy of the Huskies basketball tradition, and the example he has tried to set to uphold those values. On Wednesday, Ollie demonstrated that he continues to lead by example, announcing a pledge from himself and his wife Stephanie, of $100,000 towards the construction of the UConn Basketball Development Center.
Ollie’s announcement came just after approval by University’s Board of Trustees of the final construction budget of $33 million for the project. Donations and pledges now total $24 million, as efforts continue to actively raise funds to secure the total costs of the project, which will be $38 million, including furniture, fixtures, and equipment. The official groundbreaking to begin construction will take place this spring.
“I thought it was very important to show my commitment to the UConn Basketball Development Center,” said Ollie, who spent 13 years as a professional basketball player after completing his degree in communications. “I have had the incredible opportunity to be a member of the Husky family, and that experience has influenced every part of my life. I want to be an example for all former UConn basketball student-athletes, who have had the privilege of playing for two Hall of Fame coaches, to join me in supporting this facility. It will help ensure the long-term success of the programs that all of us helped establish.”
The UConn Basketball Development Center will be a 70,000 square-foot facility located on the current Memorial Stadium site, adjacent to Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. It will feature dedicated practice gyms for the two basketball programs, along with locker rooms, coaches’ offices, and areas for academic support, video analysis, sports medicine, and strength training. It is the first building project at UConn that will be funded entirely through private donations.
“UConn is fortunate to have so many strong supporters from around the country, but members of our own university community are also very generous to the school and Kevin is a great example of this,” said President Susan Herbst. “As we continue to build and renovate so many facilities on our multiple campuses, an outstanding new home is needed for our championship men’s and women’s basketball programs.”
Athletics director Warde Manuel said, “I want to thank Kevin and his wife Stephanie for making this gift to the UConn Basketball Development Center. Kevin has experienced our program from all facets, as a student-athlete, assistant ,coach and now the head coach. I am proud that Kevin has provided this leadership gift, and it is indicative of the positive contributions that former Husky student-athletes can have on the future success of our programs.”