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Work on women's basketball coaching offices began Wednesday

Project benefactor Ken "Coach" Shipp knocked down first wall

May 4, 2011 · Athletic Communications

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- On February 5, at halftime of the women's basketball game between Middle Tennessee and South Alabama, MT alumnus Ken "Coach" Shipp made a commitment of $1 million to his alma mater. A large portion of the generous gift was designated to renovate and upgrade the women's basketball coaching offices, providing a suite for all the coaches in one location. It is designed to provide the bridge between a dream and reality. The balance of the monetary commitment will go toward scholarships for Rutherford County students who plan to attend Middle Tennessee.

Wednesday morning, almost three months to the day of his announcement, the dream officially started to become reality. Shipp joined Blue Raider women's basketball coach Rick Insell in a ceremonial knocking down of the first wall to start the renovation process. Other dignitaries at the ceremony were MT President Sidney A. McPhee, Vice President for Development and University Relations Joe Bales, Director of Athletics Chris Massaro, Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman's Administrator Diane Turnham, members of the women's basketball coaching staff and other MT administrators.

"I am excited for Coach Shipp. He is like a kid at Christmas," noted Insell. "He has been looking forward to this since he made the gift to us. Every day he comes in and talks about it. He is excited about it and he keeps me excited about it."

Insell said that he and his staff were so busy with recruiting and getting things lined up for next season that the timing of the project was perfect. "It will be the best thing for us to stay busy because then all of a sudden it materializes in front of you."

Work on the project also helps in recruiting. Insell and his staff no longer have to show potential recruits the artists renderings of the new state-of-the-art facility; they can see the work being done for themselves. "They (the recruits) know when they get here, it will be ready, and that means a lot.

"My staff is excited, I am excited, and we are all excited for Coach Shipp."

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