Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Tyler Ugolyn Foundation to dedicate “Tyler’s Court” in Springfield
Second Court Dedication in Western Mass is Tribute to former Columbia University NCAA Student-Athlete lost on 9/11
Springfield, Mass – August 31, 2009 – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today it proudly will continue to assist the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation with its goal to support youth basketball by refurbishing urban courts in cities and towns throughout the United States. The unveiling and dedication of the newest “Tyler’s Court” will be held at Springfield’s William N. DeBerry Elementary School on Thursday, September 10 at 3:00 p.m. as part of this year’s enshrinement events.
“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation, as we celebrate Tyler’s passion for basketball and pay tribute to his lifelong desire to share his love of the game with children throughout the country,” said John L. Doleva, Hall of Fame President and CEO. “Thanks to the Ugolyn Foundation, there will be another ‘Tyler’s Court’ in Springfield, the birthplace of basketball. On a court bearing Tyler’s name, generations of youngsters will have the opportunity to learn more about the game and share in the joy that Tyler experienced when he played basketball.”
"On behalf of our family, we are very appreciative of the continuing support of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and, once again,the city of Springfield and the YMCA of Greater Springfieldin this unique private and public partnership. Tyler’s commitment to sharing his love of the game was demonstrated as a student-athlete at Columbia, where he helped establish a basketball clinic for Harlem area youngsters,” said Tyler’s father, Victor Ugolyn. "We continue to gain some comfort from Jackie Robinson's epitaph which states that the value of one's life is not determined bythe number of years,but bythe number of lives you've touched. It is very fitting that our belovedTyler's legacy of loving one another be again recognized, especially at this time of the year."
This court in Springfield represents the fourth “Tyler’s Court,” all made possible by the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation. Court renovations were made in Detroit at the 2009 NCAA Final Four, in San Antonio at the 2008 NCAA Final Four and in Springfield, Massachusetts during the 2008 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. Both Tyler and his younger brother, Trevor, were born in Springfield, as was their father, Victor. Both parents, Diane and Victor, were raised in the city. In addition, Victor serves as a member of the Hall of Fame Board of Trustees, so the dedication and refurbishment of a second court in Springfield is particularly meaningful to Tyler’s family and the Foundation.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “We are deeply appreciative of the Ugolyn family’s effort to take the extremely unfortunate tragedy of their son’s passing on September 11th and turn it into such a positive legacy of Tyler’s love for basketball and for fostering positive paths for the youth of our community.”
Named in honor of Tyler Ugolyn, a former NCAA student-athlete in basketball at Columbia University who, at the age of 23, was a victim of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, the Foundation was established by Tyler's family to support youth basketball, with an emphasis on court refurbishment and providing character building educational programs and skills clinics to children in urban settings. The not-for-profit foundation, formed by the Ugolyn family in 2001, provides for court refurbishments, clinics and educational programs in cities at no cost to participants and organizations, with all funding provided by the Foundation. Each refurbished court will be named “Tyler’s Court’, so noted with a special plaque installed courtside, along with the words “I just love playing the game’, a quote attributed to Tyler while a high school player in his hometown of Ridgefield, CT.
At the court dedication, along with Tyler’s family and friends, will be Dan Chung, President and CEO of Fred Alger Management, generous supporters of the Foundation and this dedication. Tyler was an employee of Fred Alger Management, which lost most of its employees on 9/11. Also present at the dedication will be Sports Illustrated ‘s Jeff Pearlman, who profiled Tyler in the magazine in September 2001, and Tyler’s AAU coach Dave Cooks, currently head coach at Marquette University High School.
“This gift both honors the memory of Tyler Ugolyn and contributes substantially to the holistic development of children and youth in Springfield,”said James Morton, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield. “Through this gift, the Tyler Ugolyn Foundation supports the YMCA in building strong kids, strong families and strong communities.”