Groundbreaking for Hall of Fame Set

May 19, 2003 · MT Media Relations

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - An event that has been a long time in coming to fruition will finally take place this summer.


The Middle Tennessee athletic department will hold the groundbreaking ceremony for its new Hall of Fame building on June 19 as a kick-off to the University's annual Legends Event.


The ceremony is slated to begin at 4:30 PM in the grass area between Floyd Stadium and the Greenland Drive parking lot, and will serve as a precursor to the MT Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, which is scheduled to get underway at 6:30 PM.


"I am happy to announce this groundbreaking," said athletic director Boots Donnelly. "We have been planning this building for a long time to make sure it was done the right way. This newest addition to our athletic facilities will be something for all Blue Raiders past and present to be very proud of."


The Hall of Fame Building was made possible by the generosity of former Blue Raider football and baseball player Emmett Kennon (Class of 1938). Kennon donated $1 million to construct the building and has been instrumental in spearheading the project that will house the Middle Tennessee Athletic Hall of Fame.


The Hall of Fame will consist of three major areas: an exhibits area, a meeting hall, and exterior gathering porch.  The meeting hall, with an 18-foot high ceiling, will be capable of seating 150 - 250 people for dinners and lectures.  Directly to one side of the hall will be the exhibits area with space for the growing collection of artifacts and photographs of MT's sports history.  To the opposite side is a south-facing porch which can accommodate game day gatherings and Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Administrative offices, and support spaces compose the balance of the main floor with a conference room and space for a future archives area on the upper mezzanine of the proposed 7,400 square-foot building,
The exterior of the building is a balanced composition of stainless steel columns, brick walls, complementary in color to the adjacent Murphy Center, and glass window walls.  The north-facing window is proposed to be composed of a mural of sports figures celebrating the achievements of student athletes and coaches of MTSU.


Donnelly added, "Mr. [Emmett] Kennon has shown a great deal of love for his University and this athletic department with his generosity. He loves this school and has always wanted to give back. His gift will be a lasting legacy for the athletic department and the University as a whole. I personally want to thank him for what he has done."


Middle Tennessee President Sidney McPhee echoed Donnelly's sentiments, "I am very excited about getting the Hall of Fame project underway. The Middle Tennessee athletic department has long needed a place to enshrine its hall of fame members and serve as a place for all of our former athletes to gather when they visit campus. Mr. Kennon's generous gift will provide such a place, and the University is very grateful to him for making this project possible."


Kennon's love for Middle Tennessee is evident beyond his monetary gift. He has served in many capacities while a student and as an alumnus. Aside from playing two sports, Kennon served as the sports editor for the Sidelines for three years and editor of the Midlander for one year.


He was also president of the Varsity Club and was elected to the MT Hall of Fame in 1997.


"For me, this building is a dream come true. It's impossible for me to put into words the feelings that I have for this institution so making the Blue Raider Hall of Fame a reality is my way of expressing them. I am thrilled that this project is underway," said Kennon.


The Hall of Fame Groundbreaking is open to the public and plenty of parking will be available in the Greenland Drive parking lot.


The groundbreaking event will begin a two-day celebration of Blue Raider athletics. The annual Hall of Fame inductions will take place at 6:30 PM at the Garden Plaza/Doubletree. The induction ceremony is also open to the public and tickets are available in the MT Ticket Office for $25.


On the following day, a golf tournament and barbecue lunch will be held for Varsity Club members at Indian Hills Golf Club. The tournament will feature two tee times and will cost $60 for the round of golf and lunch.


Anyone with questions or needing more information should contact Jim Simpson at (615) 898-5632.

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