Niners QB Smith giving back to Utah with donation

Updated: February 13, 2007, 12:47 AM ET
Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith pledged $500,000 Monday to the University of Utah for a workout facility that will bear his name.

Alex Smith

Smith's donation is the lead gift for the $1.5 million expansion of the Alex Smith Strength and Conditioning Facility.

"Utah is the only school that gave me a chance out of high school, and this is where I developed into what I am today," the La Mesa, Calif., native said. "Even though I was only here for three years, I got my degree and I gained a lot of life experiences as well.

"I wanted to give back to the school and people who changed my life."

Smith was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2004 while leading the Utes to a 12-0 season. San Francisco made him the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

The Smith building will expand to 11,000 square feet and have new equipment for varsity athletes.

President Michael Young said the university is "deeply grateful and very proud."

Smith is the third former Ute in recent years to share his professional riches with the school. NBA players Andre Miller -- $500,000 -- and Andrew Bogut -- $125,000 -- have donated money to the basketball program.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press