Jim Agonis ’71 (BUS) is a true fan of UConn women’s basketball, tuning in devotedly ever since the Huskies won their first national championship in 1995.
He can rattle off the team’s accomplishments: seven NCAA national championships, 13 Final Four appearances, four undefeated seasons, longest winning streak in NCAA basketball, and more. He knows the players and their stats. He programs his DVR to record the games he can’t watch in real time.
In appreciation of his years of enjoyment, Agonis donated $125,000 to establish a scholarship fund at UConn and named it in honor of his favorite person on the team – associate head coach Chris Dailey.
“I have watched Chris Dailey for more than 20 years, and to me there is no better person in women’s basketball,” says Agonis. “She is the most selfless person, working in the background, being a mentor, coach, and friend. She has helped Coach Geno Auriemma achieve 800 victories quicker than anyone else alive in women’s basketball.” Agonis also confesses, a bit sheepishly, to admiring Dailey’s style on the sidelines, with her designer outfits and cool demeanor.
The Chris Dailey Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide financial support to students who are not players but are involved with the women’s basketball team. “I talked to Chris and she suggested a fund that would help people involved in the program behind the scenes, like the team managers and those who help with the training and conditioning, as well as student-athletes,” says Agonis.
For Agonis, who took seven years to graduate from the School of Business, support for scholarship is close to his heart. He remembers having to drop out of UConn occasionally to wait on tables and earn money for the next semester. He also credits UConn for his success, which includes working his way up to group vice president of the Kaman Corp., a Fortune 500 company in Bloomfield, before moving to Florida where he became CEO/president of his own company, Airkaman Cecil Inc. Last year, Agonis donated $105,000 to the School of Business Accounting Endowment for Excellence fund, which supports scholarships and professional development activities, among other things.
Agonis was at the XL Center in Hartford in December for the Huskies’ game against Maryland, when UConn invited him and his wife Glenna to center court at halftime to announce their scholarship gift. “I was happy they could announce the gift and let others know they could contribute to the fund,” says Agonis. “After the game, people came up to us and congratulated us for making the gift. It was great to see how many people share our appreciation for Chris.”
Agonis says he plans to make additional contributions to the Chris Dailey Scholarship Fund, which is an endowed fund and will last forever: “I hope others will honor Chris with their own donations to the fund.”
From the UConn Foundation’s Our Moment newsletter (February-March 2013).