UW-Parkside rededicated the De Simone Gymnasium on Tuesday night as they continue to advance their athletic vision. The gym and training court were part of the rededication this week as part of UW-Parkside’s Ranger Vision 2020.
On Saturday, UW-Parkside reallocated one of the training grounds to former women’s basketball coach Jenny Knight Kinsey after a double header at De Simone Arena. Knight-Kenesie served as the program’s head coach from 2002-13 with a record of 195-125 and led the Rangers to five NCAA Division 2 Championship games as well as leading UW-Parkside to the Sweet Sixteen twice.
“With this entire campaign and these projects, we were really excited about how we can connect this proud history of our past to what is currently going on with what we want to do to make progress at Parkside,” Andrew Garvin, athletic director at UW-Parkside said. “The opportunity to honor Coach Knight-Kenesie was something the women’s basketball coach wanted to do, and I wanted to do it as a number of alumni and supporters wanted to do.”
On the Tuesday night before the men’s basketball game against Clark University, UW-Parkside renamed De Simone Gymnasium to De Simone Arena. Among the renovations, the Behr Club was behind one of the baselines as well as Educators Credit Union Suite as well as stands renovations.
UW-Parkside announced the Ranger Vision 2020 in March 2020 days before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Even with the pandemic, athletic director Andrew Garvin was able to secure funding and carry out renovations at De Simone Arena including help from local businesses such as Educators Credit Union, Behr Real Estate and Haribo.
The Teachers Credit Union agreed in July of 2020 to a six-figure multi-year partnership to support the project and two months later they agreed to pay their donation in full. Their donation helped keep renewal on schedule.
“We wouldn’t stand here with this beautiful facility and the Teachers Credit Union Pavilion if it wasn’t for their generosity,” Garvin said.
Men’s basketball coach Luke Reigel was upbeat, but skeptical when the project was originally presented to him, but now he’s happy that the renovations are happening.
“We needed these improvements,” Riegel said of the improvements. “It doesn’t happen if (Andrew) doesn’t keep getting past the pandemic because he keeps getting out into the community and getting to know people. I keep finding all of the generous UW-Parkside partners as well as people who have never been in UW-Parkside athletics before, and the reason we’re here is because they believed in that vision.”
Chancellor Debbie Ford thanked Garvin for the incredible vision of the Ranger Vision 2020, as well as her corporate partners, contractors, architects, faculty and staff at UW-Parkside as well as the UW-Parkside Foundation Board.
“They have been wonderful supporters in building relationships and helping us connect to find those partners across our region who believe in the mission and vision of UW-Parkside,” Ford said. “She helped us bridge the funding needed to make this construction possible last summer.”