Jan. 19, 2012
RUSTON, LA - Tapping into the athletic spirit and educational drive that made former Louisiana Tech basketball coach Robert "Scotty" Robertson a legend, former players, friends and family launched a memorial fund drive today to renovate the basketball court at Tech's Memorial Gymnasium in honor of Coach Robertson.
"We cannot think of a more appropriate and enduring way to honor one of the greatest coaches in Tech basketball history than to renovate and dedicate a new basketball practice court in his memory," said Tech Athletic Director Bruce Van De Velde. "Renovating Coach Robertson's home court will support two things to which he was dedicated - basketball and education - and will ensure that his legacy has a permanent home at Louisiana Tech."
Robertson's basketball coaching career began with stints at Rodessa, Vivian and Byrd High Schools in the Shreveport, La., area, before moving to Tech. He served as head basketball coach at Louisiana Tech for 10 years, where he compiled a 165-86 record and led the Bulldogs to No. 1 in the national college division rankings in the early 1970s. Those teams featured three-time All-American, future NBA first round draft choice and Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer Mike Green. Robertson was the first head coach of the NBA's New Orleans Jazz, and went on to become head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, and assistant coach with six other NBA teams.
In 1998, he was elected to the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame, in 2007 the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2010 he was honored as LA Tech Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Education. Overall, Robertson was elected to eight local, state and national sports halls of fame. He passed away in August of 2011.
The memorial fundraising project, which is being managed by the Louisiana Tech University Foundation and a leadership committee co-chaired by Jerry Hudson and Johnny Maxwell of Ruston, seeks to raise $180,000 by June 1, 2012, to install a new basketball floor and goals. The new practice court would be officially named the Scotty Robertson Court, with his name prominently and permanently displayed.
"Restoring this historic facility will provide us much-needed flexibility in scheduling practices around the class schedules of our student-athletes," said Tech men's basketball head coach Mike White. "This is one of our biggest needs, plus a new court will further elevate the Tech basketball programs, as Coach Robertson always sought to do. It will be a wonderful way to honor his legacy at Louisiana Tech."
Women's basketball coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who returned to Tech in 2007 to coach after eight seasons as a top player in the WNBA, noted that a new practice facility would enhance Tech recruiting efforts.
"Recruiting is the bloodline to any great college program," Weatherspoon said. "Both our men's and women's programs at Louisiana Tech are working hard to recruit top caliber student-athletes. The availability of quality athletic facilities weighs heavily in a recruit's decision-making process, and having a new basketball practice court would be a great recruiting tool for Tech."
Dr. David Gullatt, dean of Tech's College of Education, said that the renovated facility would also support the numerous education programs that are held in Memorial Gym.
"Coach Robertson had a strong and meaningful connection with the College of Education, especially the Kinesiology Department," Gullatt said. "We're hoping to have broad support for this project from the many lives and communities he touched during his career - from college and professional players to educators, students, colleagues and others who benefitted from his coaching, friendship and support."
Contributions to the Scotty Robertson Memorial Fund are tax-deductible and can be made by check or credit card. Contributions should be sent to:
Louisiana Tech University Foundation Attn: Scotty Robertson Memorial Fund PO Box 1190 Ruston LA 71273
Contributions of $250 or more will be acknowledged on a plaque to be displayed in the renovated facility, and all contributions will be acknowledged to the Robertson family.
Other members of the leadership team are: Honorary Chairman Rev. Doug McGuire, John D.Caruthers, Don Hathaway, R. Guthrie Jarrell, John J. Long and Leo Sanford.
For questions about the project and contributions, contact Adam McGuirt at the Tech Foundation at (318) 255-7950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.