ETSU alum addresses basketball team
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 23:01
Gordon Ball, attorney and ETSU graduate, was honored by ETSU athletics on Thursday afternoon for a significant financial contribution that he put toward the completion of the new indoor basketball practice facility that is located in the northeast corner of the Mini-Dome.
“Gordon Ball has provided the resources to create a facility that will assist our student-athletes in becoming more competitive on and off the courts, and will position our basketball program for an increased level of nation prominence,” ETSU President Brian Noland said. “We are grateful to Gordon for his generosity and support of our student-athletes.”
Gordon earned his undergraduate degree from ETSU in 1970 and later went on to graduate from the University Of Memphis College of Law in 1974. During his time practicing law, Gordon has seen incredible success as a defense attorney, a federal prosecutor and a class-action attorney. The Pigeon Forge native also served a central role as a defense attorney in the trials involving the Ray Blanton administration.
“East Tennessee State gave me my educational start in life and I hope to always support the goal of ETSU to prepare young adults to thrive in our global world,” said Ball.
Former ETSU student and current construction worker Ray Jones was also thanked by the university for his work on renovating and constructing the new courts. He said the project was a challenge, mainly because of the facility’s new ceiling, which gives the effect that you aren’t even in the dome.
“It was the most difficult because at the top of the dome you’re at 125 feet, so our ability to hang guide wires and stuff to hold it (the ceiling) was difficult,” Jones said.
During the ceremony, Dave Mullins, former ETSU athletic director, also expressed his gratitude for the gift. Mullins told the crowd of about 50 about a time a few months back when both the men’s basketball team and the women’s baseball team were practicing in the dome. He described the scene as being very noisy and disruptive with construction also on-going with the new lighting system being installed. He said he remembers ETSU men’s basketball head coach Murry Bartow approaching him and saying, “You think John Calapari has to practice like this?” Mullins said both men, along with administration knew something had to be done, so the group got to work and the new facility was constructed and named in dedication to Ball.
Along with the isolation, Bartow described other benefits that the new practice court would provide.
“This practice facility gives our team an outstanding place to work and improve, and individually our players now have the perfect place to develop their skills on the floor. It will also be a great recruiting tool for us,” Bartow said. “Gordon and I have developed a great friendship over the years, and he also had a close relationship with my father. He is an extraordinary person and has had an incredibly successful career as an attorney. I am proud to call him my friend.”