$1 million donated to facility to be named after Polk

Updated: October 11, 2005, 3:07 PM ET
Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A local couple donated $1 million to the University of Arizona for a proposed practice facility that will incorporate the name of Shawntinice Polk, a star women's basketball player who died of a pulmonary blood clot last month.

One of the practice facility's two courts will be named after Polk. The facility itself, which will be put in near McKale Center within two years, does not yet have a name.

"We realize a lot of kids wouldn't go to college if not for athletics. So when they announced they wanted to improve their facilities, we wanted to help," said Coleman Davis, who made the donation along with his wife, Jeannie. "Then the tragedy with 'Polkey' happened, and we thought what a great opportunity, because here is a young lady who exemplified what you can do if you get a chance.

"Maybe she wouldn't have gotten an opportunity if somebody didn't reach out a hand. But they reached out, and she took advantage of it. We just think she is a great example for other kids."

Polk battled back from academic ineligibility to become a popular star for the Wildcats on and off the basketball court. She died Sept. 26 after collapsing at McKale Center.

Arizona women's basketball coach Joan Bonvicini was planning Polk's memorial service with UA officials on Sept. 27 when athletic director Jim Livengood and senior associate AD Chris Del Conte pulled her out of a meeting and told her about the gift.

"They told me these people donated a million in her name, and I just cried," Bonvicini said. "They never met Polkey before. But they read the articles and were touched by what was said."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press