The Observer

NFL coach donates funding for construction of north side field house

Gilad Doron, Campus Affairs Reporter

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Although it was nearing completion, Case Western Reserve University’s fundraiser for the construction of the Wyant Field House acquired a substantial boost from a noteworthy name.

Last month, Super Bowl-winning, National Football League head coach Bill Belichick donated an undisclosed amount of money to help build the field house, which is set to be located on the north side of campus. The donation will be directed towards the development of the “Steve Belichick Varsity Weight Room” in honor of the coach’s late father.

“Coach Belichick’s generous gift allows us to take another significant step forward toward completing the funding model for the Wyant Field House,” said CWRU’s Director of Athletics David Diles, “While we have some additional work to do in completing the funding, this represents great additional progress.”

The Belichick family has an intimate connection to CWRU. Steve Belichick was a standout fullback for the Western Reserve University football team from 1938-1940. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in business from the university, he went on to play for the Detroit Lions in the National Football League, but came back to earn a master’s degree in physical education. Afterwards, he had long coaching career that included 33 years as an assistant coach at the Naval Academy. He is said to have named his son after former Western Reserve head coach, Bill Edwards.

“Western Reserve University, was important to the elder Belichick, in respect to education, football, and coaching,” said Greg Pillar; “I felt it would be appropriate to offer Coach Belichick the opportunity to honor his father, Steve, on campus as part of the Fieldhouse project.” Pillar is the executive director of major gifts and the assistant athletic director for development.

Getting in contact with Bill Belichick, however, was not easy. CWRU has a number of graduates and alumni involved in sports agency who helped Pillar contact Belichick’s agent, Neil Cornrich.

“Neil was very supportive of the initiative and provided the initial contact of Coach Belichick, as well as ongoing communication over a number of months until we were able to finalize the agreement,” said Pillar.

With the donation, CWRU is on the final stretch to completing its fundraising campaign for the Wyant Field House. It will be placed between the football stadium and Nobby’s Ballpark, which will complete the North Campus residential Village and Athletic Complex. The new building will feature a state-of-the-art strength training and conditioning space, a fitness center, and a large varsity club house for student study sessions, meetings, and alumni gatherings.

“Respectful that the funding model needs to be completed and final institutional and construction approvals secured, we are hopeful for a ground breaking in 2013 and anticipate that the project will take approximately one year to complete,” said Diles.

With this donation, CWRU will soon have a superior athletic facility with a familiar football name.

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NFL coach donates funding for construction of north side field house