It's a few days after Christmas but UConn athletics just got a monster gift in the form of a $4.5 million donation, according to the Courant's Jeff Jacobs. The money is apparently earmarked for a long-desired basketball practice facility. The school has yet to make an official announcement on the donation, which is reportedly from the Werth Family of Woodbrdige, but Jacobs indicated one would come shortly.
The $4.5 million donation would not cover the cost of the facility -- that's estimated to be about $30 million -- but UConn has received pledges for about $10 million already, so this goes a long way.
Perhaps more importantly this move could reflect a change in donor attitude toward the athletic program. A big reason for former athletic director Jeff Hathaway's ouster was his lackluster fundraising, which was largely attributed to failing to replace fundraiser Paul Pendergast after he left the school in 2006. It was Pendergast that replaced Hathaway four months ago, and if he is able to inspire the type of confidence in donors that leads to $4.5 million gifts, that is a very, very good sign.