A $40 million upgrade to Timmons Arena spearheads a nationwide drive to elevate Furman’s brand and its basketball program.
The time is now. Greenville is ready. Our fans are ready. And Furman is ready. The vision: to transform Timmons Arena into a first-class facility that will stand among the best in the NCAA and help to secure the Paladins’ place among the nation’s most competitive Division I teams.
The primarily donor-funded Timmons campaign is anchored by a $10 million gift from philanthropist and businessman Ravenel Curry ’63.
“I cannot wait to welcome the Furman community, near and far, and in fact, the whole country, to what will be a state-of-the-art facility,” says Furman University President Elizabeth Davis. “We are grateful to Ravenel for his longstanding commitment to Furman and for his generosity and vision for this crucially important project, one that will advance the university’s reputation, prestige and excellence.”
The arena project is a perfect opportunity to strengthen Furman’s regional foothold as Greenville’s team, says Erin Wissing, Furman’s senior associate athletic director and executive director of athletics development. And with a $40 million renovation and expansion, the home of Greenville’s team will be Furman’s Timmons Arena.
“We believe that a strategic investment in basketball can directly contribute to advancing the programs and the prestige of the institution as a whole,” says Wissing. “There’s no greater catalyst than creating a program consistently in the NCAA tournament to expand an institution’s branding on an international scale.”
The success of similar campaigns by institutions such as Loyola Chicago, Butler, Gonzaga and Villanova back up Wissing’s words. Those schools all invested strategically in their basketball programs and were rewarded by numerous tournament appearances and millions in earned media, spiking interest from prospective students and student-athletes.
“The platform that the NCAA tournament provides is one of the most powerful of the country,” says Wissing, noting that March Madness fans fill out tens of millions of brackets each year. “The power alone of having Furman’s name written out over 70 million times – we can’t pay for that type of exposure.”
Furman fans celebrated on March 6, when the men’s basketball team captured its first Southern Conference Tournament title and NCAA berth since 1980 with an 88-79 victory over Chattanooga.
As things stand now, “The competitive advantage of Timmons Arena is tremendous for our teams, but the fan, coach and student-athlete experience leaves much to be desired,” says Jason Donnelly, vice president for intercollegiate athletics. “Renovating and expanding the existing basketball facilities will make an immediate impact on recruiting and retention of talent, while demonstrating the university’s commitment to positioning basketball to drive prestige and national brand recognition for the institution.”
The renovation will land Furman with “one of the best arenas in mid-major basketball and beyond,” and will also help secure the long-term success of Furman Athletics, he says, with an emphasis on revenue generation and philanthropy as key pillars.
The Timmons Arena Project
Phase I: Basketball Offices, Locker Rooms, and Film Rooms were renovated and expanded (construction complete)
Phase II: Arena Renovation – Will include the addition of donor suites; premium seating and hospitality; improved student experience; enhanced food, beverage and merchandise concession areas; upgrades to the entrance and exterior; and changes to the court and seating area.
Phase III: Player Development Center – following the successful completion and funding of Phase II, Furman will raise funds to construct a dedicated practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball. (Not included in $40 million Phase II scope.)
Interested in supporting the strategic vision for Timmons Arena? Contact Erin Wissing with Furman Athletics Development to learn more: 864-294-3732 | firstname.lastname@example.org.