$1 million gift to help fund construction of new Athletic Center

Thursday, February 12, 2004

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Jim McIngvale, a former North Texas football lettermanand Houston businessman and philanthropist, is giving the University of NorthTexas Athletic Department $1 million toward construction of a new athletic center.

McIngvale's gift will be formally announced in a presentation during halftimeat today's men's basketball game in the Super Pit.

The gift provides significant funding for the $7.4 million facility, which isalready under construction on the Eagle Point Campus. The 47,000 square footcenter, which is part of the athletic department's "Soaring to Victory" capitalcampaign, will play a vital role in ensuring the future academic and athleticsuccess of all UNT student athletes.

"I believe in UNT and what it does for the youth of Texas, and has done for literallyhundreds of thousands of students over the years," he said. "BecauseI have fond memories of my time as a football player there and am a big supporterof Coach Darrell Dickey today, I wanted to do something to help the athleticsdepartment. I am hoping this donation will spark other people to help finishthe facility."

Owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, McIngvale has built his business intothe single-most successful furniture store in the United States. He has longbeen considered one of the most respected businessmen and philanthropists inHouston and has developed extensive corporate partnerships with various professionalsports franchises and organizations.

"We are tremendously appreciative of Mr. McIngvale's support, and his generousgift will help take us to the next level as we continue to build a respecteddivision one athletic program," said Athletic Director Rick Villarreal.

The new athletic center will feature state of the art weight training and sportsmedicine facilities as well as a multipurpose auditorium, administration andcoaches' offices, and football locker rooms.

North Texas head football coach Darrell Dickey said the gift would help all UNT athletes become increasingly competitive at the highest level.

McIngvale was a two-year letterman on the North Texas football team in 1972 and 1973, playing linebacker for coaches Rod Rust and Hayden Fry. He started 10 games in 1973, helping the Mean Green tie for a Missouri Valley Conference championship with a 5-1 league record. Fry said of McIngvale in 1973 that he was "one of the most pleasant surprises, showing consistency and aggressive play with a natural ability to locate the football."

Note to Reporters: For more information about the Athletic Center, the Athletic Department or this gift, please call Eric Capper at (940) 565-2476.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108