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Major gifts to provide new athletics facilities at Elon

Elon University will expand the John Koury Field House in the North Athletics Complex thanks to major gifts by two couples who have historic ties to Elon sports.

(Left to right): Zac Walker and his wife Dot of Raleigh, N.C., and Amy and Jay Hendrickson of Raleigh, N.C., made generous gifts of million to Elon University.

Alumni Jay and Amy Hendrickson of Raleigh, N.C., have made a $1 million gift to name the new Hendrickson Football Center in honor of Jay's father, Horace J. Hendrickson, one of Elon's all-time great coaches.

Alumnus and trustee Zac Walker and his wife Dot of Raleigh, N.C., have made a $500,000 gift to name the athletics director suite in the new facilities in honor of Zac's father, Zachary T. Walker Jr., a member of Elon's Sports Hall of Fame, and Zac's uncle, D.C. "Peahead" Walker, another of Elon's all-time great coaches. In addition, the Walkers have designated another $500,000 gift to support scholarships in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.

"We are grateful to the Hendricksons and Walkers for their leadership in our drive toward excellence in Elon athletics," said Leo M. Lambert, Elon University president. "This expansion will provide student athletes and coaches with additional locker room, training and meeting spaces, allowing them to combine their activities in one location."

This 30,000-square-foot, three-story expansion will provide consolidated spaces for the football, soccer, baseball, track and field, and cross country teams, along with an office suite for the athletics administration, which is currently housed in Koury Center. Currently, the football, soccer and baseball teams have locker room and training spaces in the Koury Field House, while coaches' offices and the weight room are located across campus in the Koury Center.

The expansion will also provide conference and meeting spaces, a Letterman's Lounge and a third-floor outdoor plaza that will overlook Rhodes Stadium. The expansion of the Koury Field House, which opened in 1980, will nearly triple the original building size. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2009, with completion scheduled for fall 2010.

The spaces vacated by coaches and administrators in Koury Center will be reallocated to academic programs, classrooms and recreation space.

"We are proud to have Horace Hendrickson's name associated with these new facilities," said Jay and Amy Hendrickson. "He was known as 'the Galloping Horse' for his athletic achievements at Duke University. He loved his time at Elon and always said that it was the fondest memory of his coaching career, and Elon's new football center is a fitting tribute to his legacy."

Horace Hendrickson served as director of athletics and was a football, basketball and baseball coach from 1937 to 1942. He won at least one North State Conference title in each year, including football titles in 1938 and 1941, a basketball conference championship in 1938 and baseball crowns in 1940 and 1941. His wife, Gene was the Women's Athletic Director at Elon during the same time. He later went on to coach baseball at University of Pennsylvania, basketball at Duke, and was head football coach at North Carolina State University. He was inducted into Elon's Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

Jay (Elon Class of 1971) and Amy (Elon Class of 1969) Hendrickson serve on the university's Board of Visitors and are charter members of Elon's Phoenix Club IMPACT Circle. Amy Hendrickson is vice chair of the Phoenix Club Advisory Board.

Zac and Dot Walker have been generous supporters of Elon for more than 25 years, and are also inaugural members of the Phoenix Club IMPACT Circle. A 1960 Elon graduate, Zac received Elon’s Alumnus of the Year Award in 1989. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 1991, including a term as chair of the board, and currently chairs the board's athletics policy committee.

"We are excited about the momentum and energy associated with Phoenix athletics, and are pleased that we can provide facilities that will support our progress at the NCAA Division I level," said Zac and Dot Walker.

The athletics director’s office in the Koury Center and the Walker Lounge at Rhodes Stadium are both named in honor of the Walkers, and they have also endowed scholarships in honor of both of Zac's parents.

The Catherine N. Walker Scholarship honors Zac's mother and assists education majors, while the Zachary T. Walker Jr. Football Scholarship honors Zac's father, a 1930 alumnus who was quarterback for Elon's football team and considered one of the speediest players in Elon history. He received all-conference honors in 1927, 1928 and 1929 and all-state honors in 1927 and 1928.

Zac and Dot also contributed to an endowed football scholarship in 1979 in honor of “Peahead” Walker, who served as both athletics director and coach of major sports at Elon from 1928 to 1937. He won a total of 19 conference championships during his tenure and was named to North Carolina's Sports Hall of Fame and Elon's Sports Hall of Fame.

The couple received the Elon Athletics Distinguished Service Award in 2005 and the Southern Conference Distinguished Service Award in 2006.

Eric Townsend,
2/4/2008 4:40 PM