Mumas make $3-million donation to USF
USF's athletic department announced Wednesday that a $3-million donation from alums Leslie and Pamela Muma will be used as the lead gift to start fundraising for a proposed basketball practice facility that Bulls officials hope to have in place by the 2009-10 season.
Les Muma, a 1966 USF graduate, is the retired co-founder of Fiserv Inc., a financial technology firm. The Mumas have made significant donations to USF in the past, including a $6-million philanthropy in 2006 to support a partnership between USF and Tampa General Hospital for research and care of newborns. That gift was eligible for a matching state donation of $5-million.
The Mumas' donation is the second major gift USF's athletic department has received in the past two years; Frank and Carol Morsani donated $3-million in June 2006 to be used toward a new softball stadium and football practice fields.
(I've included an artist's rendering -- courtesy of USF -- of an aerial shot of what the practice facility might look like, but it's still very conceptual. USF has not yet made the decision whether to conceive the practice facility as a freestanding structure or as an adjoining wing to the Sun Dome, potentially on the north side. Just an idea of what it might look like.)
We'll have more on the Mumas' donation later Wednesday night ...
-- Recruiting update: I was able to talk Wednesday with the AAU coach for Gary Flowers, the coveted power forward from Chipola College who has been a recruiting target of Stan Heath's staff. Tony Johnson of the Dallas Mustangs had good news for Bulls fans: USF remains in contention for Flowers, with Seton Hall as another top contender; Flowers is also considering Maryland, West Virginia and Kansas State, according to Johnson; he's in the process of scheduling visits after Chipola finished its season last week in the consolation bracket of the Division I national junior college tournament.
-- Football recruiting! Offensive line will be a major priority in USF's 2009 football recruiting, and one local prospect who could be part of that group is Jon Halapio, a 6-foot-3, 302-pound right tackle from St. Pete Catholic. Halapio attended USF's junior day event and said his top choice right now would be USF, though he's being recruited by Florida, Florida State and Wake Forest. Besides being close to home, he has several ties to USF -- he's been friends with USF commitment Adaris Bellamy since middle school, and USF freshman David Fonua is a family friend. Like Fonua, Halapio's family is from the Pacific island of Tonga; he was born in California. He's also a cousin of former USF players Saiosi and Paul Uhatafe. He said he might not make a college decision until this winter, but is considering the Bulls enough that USF coaches have told him he and Bellamy could be roommates as freshmen.