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Making a Difference

New Facility To Recognize Rensselaer Athletic Heroes

Workers continue to put the finishing touches on the East Campus Athletic Village facilities in preparation for the grand opening ceremonies on Oct 3.
New Facility To Recognize Rensselaer Athletic Heroes

As the Oct. 3 grand opening approaches for the East Campus Athletic Village (ECAV), alumni are raising funds to name facilities within the complex to recognize some of the great coaches and athletes in Rensselaer history.

Two initiatives will recognize the achievements of coaching legend Ned Harkness: the Harkness Hall of Champions, for men’s ice hockey, and the Ned Harkness Team and Community Room, for men’s lacrosse. Harkness became the first coach in NCAA history to win national titles in two sports. During 10 winning seasons he led three of his men’s ice hockey teams to the NCAA Tournament, and won the 1954 National Championship. As head men’s lacrosse coach, he led his team to the 1952 National Championship. His combined hockey and lacrosse coaching record was a remarkable 288 wins and 122 losses for a .687 winning percentage.

The Harkness memorial spaces will house memorabilia from the Harkness era, including team pictures from his office walls in the ’87 Gym and a video featuring Harkness and his former players sharing their thoughts and experiences. The Harkness Team and Community Room will overlook the new stadium for recruiting, viewing games, and other special gatherings. More than 200 of his former players are being asked by a volunteer players’ committee, led by “Woody” Phares ’51, to contribute to the memorial effort.

Football alumni are calling on their former teammates to assist in naming a football coaching suite. Leading the effort is Mark Clark ’89, who says, “We feel that the ECAV is a great opportunity to give back to the program which was so instrumental in making us the successful business leaders, family men, and people we are today.”

Alumni of both the men’s and women’s basketball programs are coming together to recognize standouts in their sport. One is the opportunity to recognize men’s coaching great Bill Kalbaugh. “The naming of the basketball coaching suite in the new ECAV arena is a true tribute and salient recognition of the 35-year career of this legendary Hall of Fame coach,” says Steve “Coyote” Laskey ’72.

Another opportunity is to name the Women’s Basketball Locker Room in memory of the late Laurie “Shoe” Hendler ’86. Hendler was the all-time leader in assists, and personified the commitment and team spirit of Rensselaer women’s basketball.

To learn more about giving opportunities for the East Campus Athletic Village, go to www.rpi.edu/campaign/athletics.html.

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter by the Office of Strategic Communications and External Relations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590. Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute. ©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.