The Mean Green basketball teams will have a new training facility, a new state-of-the-art scoreboard at the Super Pit, and funding added to an endowment for scholarships, thanks to more than $3 million in gifts raised this fall by the Basketball Enhance Committee chaired by Ernie Kuehne Jr. (ʼ66).
Kuehne presented the athletic department with a cornerstone $1 million gift that was matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous donor with additional dollars provided by a handful of other donors, most of whom sat on the committee.
"These additions are game changers for athletics. The impacts of these donations and the hiring of head coaches Tony Benford and Mike Petersen will pay great dividends in the long run for our basketball program," says Rick Villarreal, athletic director.
The practice facility, which is slated to open this spring, will be located in the Mean Green Village and be used mainly by the men's and women's basketball teams, who will have 24-hour access year-round to the facility.
This is not the first time Kuehne, who is managing partner of Kuehne and Shilling LLC law firm, has given back to the university that once recruited him on a track scholarship. He previously gave UNT $1 million to support student-athletes and athletic facilities, including UNT's Apogee Stadium, in the Mean Green Village.
"UNT changed my life and put me in a position to give back," Kuehne says. "This project was special to me, because it was not in response to what other collegiate programs were building for their teams, but rather a need to fill a void for the continued development of our basketball programs."