Tucsonans give $2.65 million to UA athletics
-The University of Arizona’s men’s basketball team will receive its first major gift under head coach Sean Miller: $2.65 million that will be used for facility upgrades to McKale Center and Richard Jefferson Gymnasium.
The fourth-largest gift in the history of UA athletics will come from Tucsonans Cole and Jeannie Davis. The donation will be used to help build a new strength center in the east end of the gymnasium and also help renovate the locker rooms at McKale, the first major upgrade since 1994.
"In speaking with (men's head coach) Sean Miller, we were thoroughly impressed with his vision for UA basketball," Cole Davis said in a UA press release. "He passionately expressed that strength and endurance – combined with players interested in playing four years and graduating from UA – were key ingredients to maintaining a consistently winning program."
The basketball team under Miller finished 16-15 overall and 10-8 in the Pac-10 Conference. However, Miller aims to make the Wildcats to be a national presence once again. The coach's plan emphasizes more strength and endurance training.
"As we continue the process of building our basketball program and returning it to national prominence, we have identified several important areas of improvement," Miller said in the release. "At the top of this list is the physical development of our players. In order to compete for championships in today's world of college basketball, we must have a superior conditioned, physically strong, and mentally tough team."
Miller and his wife, Amy, are donating another $250,000 to cover the rest of the upgrade. The $2.9 million project will include visual and graphical improvements to McKale.
The women’s basketball and volleyball teams will also share the new strength center, which will help with scheduling of practice and study time.
The Coles previously donated $1 million to UA athletics to name the west court of the Jefferson Gymnasium after the late women's basketball player Shawntinice “Polkey” Polk.