June 26, 2009
PHILADELPHIA - The Ramsay Basketball Center, named for Hall of Fame coach Dr. Jack Ramsay, was officially dedicated on June 26, at Saint Joseph's University in front of hundreds of Hawks' supporters and former players.
The two-story, 20,000 square-foot addition to the former Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse is the first of a multi-phase initiative to expand and enhance the entire athletics and recreation program at Saint Joseph's.
Ramsay, a 1949 graduate of what was then Saint Joseph's College, began his Hall of Fame coaching career when he returned to Hawk Hill for the 1955-56 season. In 11 years on the Saint Joseph's sidelines, the fabled "Dr. Jack" compiled a record of 234-72 (.765 winning percentage) and reached 10 post-season tournaments, including the 1961 Final Four. His 1965-66 Hawks, led by Matt Goukas, Jr., and Cliff Anderson, were named the pre-season No. 1 team in the nation by Sports Illustrated.
Ramsay also mentored five would-be NBA head coaches from Saint Joseph's -- Jack McKinney '57 (B.S.), Paul Westhead '61 (B.S.), Jim Lynam '63 (B.S.), Guokas '66 (B.S.), and son-in-law Jim O'Brien '74 (B.S.) -- along with future NBA assistants, including the late Jim Boyle '64 (B.S.). His first position in the professional ranks as general of the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers resulted in a world championship and one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.
"I am honored beyond words...to have a building with your name on it is something very special," said Dr. Ramsay.
Joining in the ceremony was NBA All-Star Jameer Nelson, who contributed to the project with the naming of the men's basketball lockerroom.
The new Ramsay Center houses the SJU men's and women's basketball programs as well as the Athletic Communications Office and the Thomas J. Wynne '63 Hall of Fame room. New locker rooms, players lounges, study spaces and video capabilities are a dramatic upgrade over the former Fieldhouse facilities.
In October, the expanded and renovated Fieldhouse will be dedicated as the Michael J. Hagan '85 Arena, with the first men's basketball game scheduled for Friday, November 13, against Drexel University. With the Ramsay Center and Hagan Arena, a new era of Hawk basketball will officially begin.
"All [women's basketball coach] Cindy [Griffin] and I wanted was a chance to sell the best," said SJU men's basketball coach Phil Martelli. "Now we have it."