The University of Vermont will name center court in Patrick Gymnasium “Tom Brennan Court” at a ceremony preceding the men’s basketball game against Siena College on December 11. The court-naming opportunity is the result of a $1 million fundraising goal established to both recognize Coach Brennan, a Colchester resident, and advance the planning for the Multi-Purpose Center.
In his 19 years at UVM, the man simply known as “Coach” won 264 games and led the Catamounts to four 20-plus win seasons, three America East championships and UVM’s first three NCAA Tournament appearances. This incredible March Madness run was capped by the 2004-2005 season when the Catamounts defeated Big East Conference champions Syracuse University in a stunning overtime win.
During his tenure, the legendary UVM coach was honored as America East Coach of the Year three times (1992, 1998 and 2002); NABC District One (New England) Coach of the Year in 1992 and 2002; and National Coach of the Year by the New Jersey Sportswriters in 2005. He is the all-time leader in games coached at UVM, and the all-time leader in victories. Brennan was a special inductee to the UVM Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2015.
A little over a year ago, Barry Stone ’56 – a former UVM basketball player and member of the UVM Foundation’s Leadership Council – and his wife Carol made a lead gift to launch the fundraising effort. Since then, a number of other donors have stepped forward to make this a reality.
The proposed Multi-Purpose Center will include a spectacular new events center that will serve as the home for Catamount men’s and women’s basketball while also hosting a variety of campus and public events. In addition, the project includes a transformational renovation of iconic Gutterson Fieldhouse and dramatic upgrades to the health, wellness and recreation facilities for the entire campus. These upgrades will result in a five-fold increase to the amount of dedicated space available for campus recreation.
The “Tom Brennan Court” will remain as the centerpiece in Patrick Gym after it is renovated into a recreational gym for all UVM students. As part of the Multi-Purpose Center project, the court in the new basketball and events arena will be available for a naming opportunity.
“It’s incredibly fitting that Coach Brennan’s name will forever be linked to the court on which he played such an instrumental role in developing UVM men’s basketball into one of the top mid-major programs in the country,” said Jeff Schulman ’89, the director of athletics at the University of Vermont. “We’re so grateful to Barry and Carol Stone and all of the other donors who have helped us to honor Coach while also providing critical support for a transformational facility project that will benefit UVM students and our community for generations to come.”
“I’ve been a UVM basketball fan since I graduated more than six decades ago, and Coach brought so much leadership, national attention and pure joy to the program that Carol and I knew we had to spearhead this fundraising effort,” said Barry Stone, the retired owner and president of the Barry Stone Agency in South Burlington, Vermont.
“With the proposed new Multi-Purpose Center, we also want to make sure that Coach Becker and all of the basketball teams into the future have the opportunity to compete and win at the national level,” added Stone.
“I’m not usually at a loss for words, but Barry and Carol Stone’s zeal, combined with the support of UVM Athletics and the UVM Foundation and so many donors, has left me absolutely floored,” Brennan said.