WVSU On Demand
September 2, 2009
Samford Dedicates Cooney Family Field House
Samford officially dedicated its new Cooney Family Field House Aug. 31.
A dedication ceremony and dinner were held to thank all of the donors who helped make the new facility possible. Prior to the dinner portion of the evening a video presentation was made, detailing the process of making the field house a reality.
Samford President Dr. Andrew Westmoreland, Director of Athletics Bob Roller, Board of Trustees Chairman W. Clark Watson, Executive Director of the Athletic Foundation Larry Long, Head Football Coach Pat Sullivan and lead benefactor Gary Cooney spoke at the event.
"There is a lot of emotion in this room tonight," Westmoreland said. "Because this is a time we have been waiting on for a long time. The things we are celebrating tonight will cause young people throughout this region and the United States to have an interest in Samford that they didn't have prior to this time."
The $7.5 million facility, which was funded completely by private donations, sits in the south end zone of Seibert Stadium. The field house, which opened in early August just before the start of football practice, houses two levels of offices, a locker room, meeting space, equipment storage and training facilities for football. A hospitality suite and observation deck overlooks Seibert Stadium.
"A lot of people in this room were here when this stadium was just a bowl," Roller said. "Now, we are in the finest football facility in the Football Championship Subdivision and perhaps one of the finest in any division."
The building, which is 39,000 square feet, also has an unfinished third deck, which will be used for future university expansion needs.
The lead gift for the field house came from Birmingham business executive and 1974 Samford graduate Gary Cooney. Cooney is vice chairman of McGriff, Seibels & Williams, Inc., one of the nation's leading insurance brokerage firms.
"This is not about me, or any individual Cooney, it's about our family and what our parents stood for," Cooney said. "Without the other donors, this wouldn't have happened. So, we are very grateful, as a family, for your support so our family's name could sit on top of this and so we could honor our parents."
Cooney graduated from Samford with a degree in business in 1974. Cooney also played football at Samford and was a member of the school's 1971 team, which won the NCAA Division II West Region Championship.