University of Missouri announces $5.2 million gift for men’s basketball program


COLUMBIA, MISSOURI – JANUARY 26: Head coach Cuonzo Martin of the Missouri Tigers reacts from the bench during the game against the LSU Tigers at Mizzou Arena on January 26, 2019 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS — Cuonzo Martin will be back on the sideline Saturday as the University of Missouri men’s basketball team hosts Alabama at Mizzou Arena. He missed the team’s last game against Kentucky after testing positive for COVID.

He’ll also technically have a new title.

Friday afternoon, Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois announced that, thanks to a $5.2 million endowment, the position will be known moving forward as the Whitten Family Men’s Basketball Head Coach, in honor of Dorothy D. and Charles E. Whitten.

“Most people in life want something from us, we were so lucky that my mother and late father wanted something for us, and all they interacted with throughout their lives,” Dr. Chuck Whitten said in a news release.

“Their lives were defined by selfless sacrifice. They worked so hard to assure a five-star culture in whatever environment they were in because they knew that would create a five-star team. Their empathy is what others admired about their approach to life.”

“We are so appreciative of their passion for Mizzou and the Tigers and their desire to leave a legacy for their family to be able to grasp the impact they had on our University and community. This extremely generous commitment will directly benefit the lives and experience of our men’s basketball student-athletes and is a showcase of the Whitten’s lifelong legacy of giving and service,” Reed-Francois said in the news release.

The family will be recognized during Saturday’s game.

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