<
>

Indoor practice facility to open this summer

OXFORD, Miss. -- New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister announced Tuesday he is giving $1 million to the University of Mississippi toward construction of an indoor practice facility.

McAllister, a former standout back at Ole Miss, appeared with
university officials Tuesday at a news conference to discuss the
donation.

"This definitely has to rank extremely high on the list of
priorities and accomplishments and achievements," McAllister said.
"I think it really brings the university up to par with elite
schools. The Tennessees, the Floridas -- those guys have got some
deep pockets over there. Now, you can't say that Ole Miss doesn't
have an indoor facility."

McAllister said he had been considering the donation since his
eligibility expired after the 2000 season and a loss in the Music
City Bowl. According to legend, Ole Miss had trouble practicing for
the bowl game because the state had been mired in a deep freeze
that December, and the Rebels were subsequently routed by West
Virginia.

"You hope you can be in position to do something of this
magnitude," McAllister said. "And that's basically where I am at
this point in my career."

Coach David Cutcliffe credited McAllister for his generosity.

"Leave the place better than you found it," Cutcliffe told
McAllister. "Well, you not only left it better than you found it,
but we're better people for having known you."

Chancellor Robert Khayat called McAllister a true ambassador for Ole Miss.

"His commitment to the success of the university was evident as a student-athlete, and his affection for Ole Miss is reflected in
his incredibly generous gift," Khayat said.

The $18 million, 150,000-square-foot multi-use enclosure is
scheduled to open this fall, but Cutcliffe said officials want to
have it ready for use by the end of July.

Athletic director Pete Boone said the building has not yet been
named but will be used by athletes competing in all sports.