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Malone joins Louisiana Tech hoop program, donates

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."