Minnesota Morris Athletics celebrated the dedication of the Dacotah Deck and the renaming of the Cougar Sports Center on Saturday. Along with a pair of victories for the Cougar basketball programs over North Central, it was an exciting day for the University of Minnesota Morris.
"It is just a huge day in Cougar Athletics," interim director of intercollegiate athletics Matt Johnson said. "In terms of our connection to the community, and our vision moving forward is amplified by Dacotah Bank and their contribution to UMM. I couldn't be more excited about this and you then couple that with the renaming of the Cougar Sports Center, it is a huge day in the history for Cougar Athletics."
Prior to the women's basketball game, members of athletic department, university and the local community met for a ribbon cutting of the Dacotah Deck.
Matt Johnson (interim director of intercollegiate athletics), Bryan Herrmann (vice chancellor for facilities and finance) on behalf of Chancellor Michelle Behr and Larry Ringgenberg (market president – Dacotah Bank) spoke to the crowd at the Dacotah Deck dedication.
Between the Cougar basketball games, cheerleaders, student-athletes, and members of the university gathered on Jim Gremmels Court to officially rename the P.E. Center the Cougar Sports Center.
Following a welcoming from Matt Johnson, Sandy Olson-Loy (vice chancellor for student affairs) and Sam Tate (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) president) spoke to the crowd about the importance of the day to the athletic department and the university.
"We are really excited to be partnering with Dacotah Bank," Olson-Loy said. "We appreciate their support of Cougar Athletics. They are a great member of the community and we really welcome their partnership on our campus."
The Cougar Sports Center, formally the P.E. Center was built in 1970 and is home to Cougar Athletics, as all 17 varsity programs train and practice in the building.
"The facility that we have is about to celebrate its 50th year in 2020," Olson-Loy said. "It is time to bring a new life into the building and the gift from Dacotah Bank is a major jumpstart in making that happen."
Tate, a sophomore, is a member of the women's soccer team and the women's tennis team. At the renaming ceremony, Tate represented the Cougar student-athletes.
"Renaming the P.E. Center to the Cougar Sports Center was a decision that was given to SAAC last year and it shows how input from the student-athletes really matters here at UMM," Tate said. "The support from Dacotah Bank and our athletic staff will help our teams progress for years to come as well as allow our athletes to give back by hosting events with the community and Special Olympics community."