Former UConn men’s basketball All-American Caron Butler and his wife Andrea have made a gift in support of the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center.
Caron Butler earned All-American honors and was the Big East Conference Player of the Year and the Tournament Most Outstanding Player in 2001-02, and led the Huskies to the NCAA Elite Eight. After that season, Butler was an NBA Draft lottery selection, with the 10th pick by the Miami Heat. He is a two-time NBA All-Star, 2011 NBA Champion as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, and is in his 14th season in the NBA, currently as a member of the Sacramento Kings.
Butler returned to campus in February and was inducted as a member of the Huskies of Honor, which recognizes great players in UConn history.
“Andrea and I met at UConn, and it has always held a special place in our hearts,” says Butler. “Being recognized in the Huskies of Honor event brought back so many incredible memories and emotions. Coach Jim Calhoun and all the coaches – Karl Hobbs, Dave Leitao, George Blaney, and Tom Moore – have played a critical role in my life, and Andrea and I are blessed to be able to give back in this small way.”
“We are extremely grateful to Caron and Andrea for their support,” said Joshua Newton, president and CEO of the UConn Foundation. “We have raised more than $33.5 million in private support toward this project, with another $3.5 million needed to complete it. Caron and Andrea’s commitment is meaningful as we work to complete the fundraising for the Center, and hopefully provides an example that others will follow.”
The Basketball Champions Center is the first building at UConn financed entirely by private donations.
Butler, whose gift amount remains private, hopes his act of giving inspires others. “I want everyone who values UConn and its student-athletes to understand that every gift matters, small or large,” he says.
“Any time a former student-athlete makes a gift we are grateful, as it shows how much UConn still means to them,” says Rachel Rubin, interim director of athletics. “We truly appreciate Caron and Andrea’s commitment to the project.”
Butler’s Husky pride runs deep. He recently said he is “elated that UConn has been loyal to the Husky Brotherhood” by hiring former UConn and NBA player Kevin Ollie as head coach of the men’s team.
The 75,000-plus square-foot Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center facility features two separate wings for the men’s and women’s basketball programs. It includes common areas for academic support, sports medicine, and strength training areas, as well as separate practice gyms, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, meeting rooms, and video analysis theaters.