Malone joins Louisiana Tech hoop program, donates

Updated: May 31, 2007, 9:40 AM ET
Associated Press

RUSTON, La. -- Louisiana Tech hired former Bulldog and NBA star Karl Malone as its director of basketball promotion and assistant strength and conditioning coach.

Malone immediately donated $350,000 to the athletic department Wednesday.

"It felt like the right thing to do," said Malone, who came to Louisiana Tech in 1982 and left as a junior when the Utah Jazz drafted him. "It's very exciting for me to be able to."

The donation includes $300,000 toward a new floor on the basketball court at the Thomas Assembly Center, which opened in 1982, Malone's freshman year.

The other $50,000 is for the volleyball program, to recognize achievement in spite of tight budgets. The volleyball team, 6-28 overall and 0-16 in the Western Athletic Conference last year, is 35-24 and 14-10 this season.

When Malone pulled the check from his pocket and gave it to school president Dan Reneau, the boosters crowding the room burst into applause and cheers.

"The Mailman keeps on delivering," Reneau said.

But refurbishing the assembly center, will be a team effort, Malone said. "Everybody has to be involved to make this work," Malone said. "This is the time for the Tech family to step up and make this happen."

Malone joins the staff of new men's basketball coach Kerry Rupp, a personal friend who was hired on Malone's recommendation.

"Karl Malone has been a generous benefactor to this university since his playing days," said athletics director Jim Oakes. "His gift today will certainly make a big difference for the basketball and volleyball programs."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press