PIKEVILLE – A capacity crowd packed into the new venue on Tuesday evening as the University of Pikeville and the Hoops Family Foundation held the opening and dedication of the Hoops Athletics Facility.
More than 200 people were in attendance for the dinner and grand opening of the multisport practice facility.
The Hoops Athletics Facility is a state-of-the-art 14,400-square foot building that cost $1.5 million to complete. In addition to the offices and locker rooms for the football team, the centerpiece of the facility is a 40-yard turf practice field that can be used by all outdoor sports.
“It is an honor certainly to be in this building. When our students left in May, this was a construction site,” said Vice-President James Hurley. “Today, they have returned to an incredible facility that will help them train to be better athletes and fuel their competitive spirit.
“Someday, when they look back on the experience, this opportunity will have been a significant part of their growth as a student-athlete.”
Mr. Hoops said he was thankful for the opportunity to take part in the event.
“It’s quite an honor for my family and I to be here this evening,” he said. “We’ve just really been blessed. God has blessed us in so many ways. There’s something special going on here that is very unique. This is what it’s all about – making a difference in other people’s lives.
“The community has really meant a lot to me. We employ about 500 people here in Pike County, and I’m very honored to be here and be a part of this community. I’m very proud to be here and be a part of this facility.”
Among those singing the praises of the facility were Steve Baker, commissioner of the Mid-South Conference. “Jeff and Patricia Hoops, you’re the kind of people who make intercollegiate athletics go. This is big-time,” he said. “It’s certainly big-time in the MSC, the NAIA. I commend the university on what you’ve achieved, and the Hoops family and all the donors are certainly a big part of that.”
Gov. Paul E. Patton, the president of the university, was unable to attend the opening, but in a statement read by Mr. Hurley, showed his appreciation.
“It would not be possible without the support of those among us who have been successful and want young people to develop that same drive and energy which has been their key to success,” said Patton. “The program lists many of these people and companies but I want to give a special mention to Jeff Hoops and the Hoops Family Foundation.
“Their generosity has been extraordinary.”