Malone joins Louisiana Tech hoop program, donates

Associated
Press

Louisiana
Tech hired former Bulldog and NBA star Karl Malone as its director of
basketball promotion and assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Malone
immediately donated $350,000 to the athletic department Wednesday.

“It
felt like the right thing to do,” said Malone, who came to Louisiana Tech
in 1982 and left as a junior when the Utah Jazz drafted him. “It’s very
exciting for me to be able to.”

The
donation includes $300,000 toward a new floor on the basketball court at the

Thomas
Assembly

Center, which opened in
1982, Malone’s freshman year.

The other
$50,000 is for the volleyball program, to recognize achievement in spite of
tight budgets. The volleyball team, 6-28 overall and 0-16 in the Western
Athletic Conference last year, is 35-24 and 14-10 this season.

When
Malone pulled the check from his pocket and gave it to school president Dan
Reneau, the boosters crowding the room burst into applause and cheers.

“The
Mailman keeps on delivering,” Reneau said.

But
refurbishing the assembly center, will be a team effort, Malone said.
“Everybody has to be involved to make this work,” Malone said.
“This is the time for the Tech family to step up and make this
happen.”

Malone
joins the staff of new men’s basketball coach Kerry Rupp, a personal friend who
was hired on Malone’s recommendation.

“Karl
Malone has been a generous benefactor to this university since his playing
days,” said athletics director Jim Oakes. “His gift today will
certainly make a big difference for the basketball and volleyball
programs.”