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The James H. Brooks Field House and those who have supported its construction have helped “reignite the fire that burns throughout our heritage,” said Jason Hill, the co-captain of the Emory & Henry College football team.
Hill and others spoke of the strong athletic tradition at Emory & Henry during a dedication ceremony Friday on the eve of the E&H Homecoming. A crowd of approximately 350 people, including current and former student athletes, assembled on the football field to witness the dedication of the new, $5.3 million Field House.
“This facility will play a major role in the advancement of the E&H athletic program in so many ways for so many years to come,” said E&H Head Football Coach Don Montgomery. The 18,237-square-foot facility links the College’s bright athletic past with a promising future, he said.
Speakers paid tribute to two former E&H athletic directors, the late Fred Selfe, whose memory inspired the creation of the field house, and Selfe’s good friend, the late Bob Johnson, who pushed for the construction of the field house and the development of the Fred Selfe Stadium.
“This would not have happened without Bob Johnson,” said President Rosalind Reichard. “More than anything, Bob thought Fred Selfe was the most amazing person, and he needed to be honored in this way.”
The James H. Brooks Field house is a donor-funded, two-story facility that features locker rooms, reception spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms and coaches’ offices. It is considered one of the best athletic facilities in NCAA Division III.
“This facility is amazing,” said Jimmy Brooks, the son of the late James H. Brooks, a member of the E&H Class of 1992 and a former member of the E&H football team. “I would give my i-teeth to put my pads back on and run out of that locker room and on to the football field once again.”
The late James H. Brooks was an avid fan of E&H football and of the College. A former member of the E&H Board of Visitors, Brooks was considered one of the College’s most ardent ambassadors.
A current vice chair and treasurer of the E&H Board of Trustees, William B. Pendleton of the E&H Class of 1972, said the new facility meets a strong need of current E&H students, 40 percent of whom participate in athletics. He extended thanks and congratulations to the many people who provided gifts in support of the field house.
With the field house as his backdrop, Pendleton said, “This doesn’t happen unless you have people like the folks in this audience who have given generously to this.”