Indoor practice facility to open this summer

Updated: May 25, 2004, 8:21 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Deuce McAllister
Running Back
New Orleans Saints
Rush Yds TD Rec Yds TD
351 1641 8 69 516 0

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.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press