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Alumni search for lost treasures in the dumpsters

September 27, 2012

The Memorial Gym floor is in the process of renovation. Many alumni want pieces of the gym floor as a memento. - Photo by Donny Crowe

 

RANEY JOHNSON
Staff Reporter

 

Tech alumni’s pursuit for an important historical item has led to campus dumpsters.

 

The sought after item was a piece of wood from the Memorial Gymnasium basketball court.

 

Elaine Dornier, head of the kinesiology department, said alumni came to her and asked if they could get some of the wood out of the dumpsters.

 

“Alumni, knowing the history, started realizing we were tearing up the floor and so they started taking wood out of the dumpster,” Dornier said.

 

Renovations to the basketball court began on July 30 and are expected to be completed in October.

 

“The company we hired to put the floor in had to rip the old floor out,” Dornier said. “They just put all the wood into the dumpster.”

 

What was trash in a dumpster to the contractors was a treasure to some alumni who are ardent Tech basketball fans.

 

Former Tech athletic trainer Tom Morris said he was one of the alumni who retrieved the wood because of its sentimental value.

 

“I was at Tech from ‘73 to ‘77,” Morris said. “That was back during the great era of basketball [at Tech].”

 

Adam McGuirt, director of athletic advancement, was another alumnus who retrieved some of the historic wood from the dumpster.

 

“I kept a large amount of the pieces just in case somebody else wanted some,” McGuirt said.

 

Some of Tech’s most historical basketball moments have taken place on that old floor in Memorial Gym since 1952.

 

“That’s where the Lady Techsters were born,” Morris said.

 

The gym was the site of the Lady Techsters’ first game and of other historic games coached by one of Tech’s most successful coaches, Scotty Robertson.

 

His seasons have produced some of the most impressive records in Tech history.

 

Robertson coached at Tech from 1964-1974, leading Tech to its first No. 1 spot in the national college division rankings and a record of 165 wins and 86 losses.

 

“This is a historical building, and that’s a historical floor,” Dornier said. “Scotty Robertson coached on that floor.”

 

Dornier also said Robertson’s signature will be permanently displayed on the court when it is unveiled to the public.

 

McGuirt was one of the many people who helped raise the private funds for the renovation of the court in honor of Robertson.

 

“This was to recognize him and honor him,” McGuirt said. “We had a committee of friends of Scotty Robertson help raise the money and put the project together.”

 

Along with the floor renovations, will be other improvements to the facility.

 

“The bleachers are being repaired, new basketball goals put in, and paddings are being restored,” McGuirt said.

 

The new court will once again be a practice facility for the Bulldogs basketball team when they are not able to practice in the TAC.

 

“The real problem in the spring is when graduation occurs,” Dornier said. “They could be potentially playing in the NCAA playoffs, and they don’t have access to the gym that they practice in and that they play in.”

 

The new floor will be made of maple wood instead of pecan, which was used on the original floor.

 

“When they built the floor they used pecan wood, which made the court darker,” Morris said. “Everyone else had lighter courts because they used maple.”

 

Though the original floor no longer remains in the Memorial Gym, the history made in it will and alumni like Morris will cherish the discarded pieces.

 

“There’s a lot of history in that gym,” Morris said. “That was the point of getting the wood.”

 

Email comments to rcj008@latech.edu.

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