HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s athletic director says the university is looking for a sponsor to step forward and secure the naming rights for its planned basketball training center and has no plans to name the building after newly retired basketball coach Jim Calhoun.
”There’s not been one point in the conversation about naming the building for Jim, because we’ve always, since I got here, been talking about the naming opportunity to raise money,” said Ward Manuel, who addressed the speculation Monday after Calhoun spoke at a chamber of commerce breakfast in Cromwell.
The facility, which is expected to cost more than $40 million, is being funded entirely by private donations.
It would be built adjacent to Gampel Pavilion on the site where the former football stadium was razed earlier this year. Plans call for separate practice courts for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, locker rooms, weight rooms, classrooms, a sports medicine center and offices for the basketball staff.
About $22 million of the $32 million needed to break ground on the center, the school said this week.
”We’re more than halfway toward the total and about 75 percent to what we need to start construction,” Manuel said.
Calhoun, who retired as coach last month, is raising money for the center as part of his new job as a special assistant to Manuel.
He said he will be visiting NBA training camps this fall and plans to ask former UConn players for their help with the center, which he said will also celebrate the history of Husky basketball.
”Some of the kids have expressed some interest, and those who haven’t are going to become more interested,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun said he’s talked to planners about including a locker room just for basketball alumni, who will be able to use the facility.
”That in turn, in my opinion, will keep, five years, 10 years, 20, down the line, all those guys connected,” he said. ”And as guys graduate and go on to their careers, obviously they will be able to do more. – maybe one guy will want a room named after him, etcetera.”
Earlier this summer, the school announced that Webster Bank had made a significant donation to the building, but would not release the details. Last December, the school announced that a Woodbridge couple, Peter J. and Pamela H. Werth donated $4.5 million for the building, the largest single private gift ever to the Division of Athletics.