TCU’s renovated basketball arena remains on schedule to open in time for the start of the season in November, and it will have a new name when it does — the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.
The school announced the name change Thursday in a news conference, with athletic director Chris Del Conte thanking Schollmaier, the retired CEO of Alcon Laboratories, “for making our dreams a reality” with a project that started at $30 million and is now close to $80 million.
“I’m not putting up any more,” Schollmaier said drolly.
The line drew laughs at a news conference with a celebratory feel. The men’s and women’s basketball teams and coaches attended, along with football coach Gary Patterson and other athletic department officials.
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“I hope that the city of Fort Worth adopts TCU basketball the same way it’s adopted TCU football,” Schollmaier said. “TCU football is really the city’s team, and I think it’d be great if we get basketball to that point. I encourage all of you that are here to get on the wagon this year and come to some basketball games in the new arena, because it’s going to be very competitive and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The new name replaces Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, used since the facility opened in 1961 and named for board member Milton Daniel and football coach Dutch Meyer. Their names remain as part of the Daniel-Meyer Athletic Complex, which includes the arena, practice facility and football stadium.
The Schollmaiers, longtime basketball boosters, also donated money to build the basketball practice facility in 2004. Schollmaier has been a school trustee since 1996. Mrs. Schollmaier is a civic volunteer. They established the Schollmaier Foundation, a Fort Worth charity.
“He believed in basketball. He knew the power of what basketball could be,” Del Conte said of Schollmaier. “And every single day, he’d say, we’ve got to do something for DMC — we’ve got to do something for this arena. I said, ‘Sir, you’re absolutely correct.’ I said, we need someone to step up to the plate to help us, to get the momentum going. The day we open this facility, I’m going to be so gratified at what has transpired because this one individual and his wife came to us and said, ‘I want this to happen.’”
Del Conte promised that the renovated facility would be “the finest in the Big 12” because of its amenities, Hall of Fame and trophy display area, locker room, coaches’ offices, club and lounge.
“At the end of every year, you ask the coaches, what do you need to win? They’d say, this, this and this. The greatest glaring weakness for a long time was, ‘We don’t have a facility we can recruit to, we don’t have a league we can recruit to,’” Del Conte said.
“Well, we’re in the premier league in this region. We didn’t have a facility that matched the league. Now we have a facility that matches the league. Any student-athlete within 100 miles that wants to play in the premier league in the finest facility has no excuse now not to come to TCU.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407