Bellotti Donates $25,000 to University Libraries

June 13, 2002

EUGENE - University of Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti has always emphasized the importance of academics to his players. Now, he's walking the talk with his own hard cash.

Bellotti and his wife, Colleen, saying they want to give something back to the university that has rewarded them in so many ways, have given $25,000 to UO Libraries.

Both the UO Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the UO College of Arts and Sciences have matched the Bellottis' gift -- creating a total gift of $75,000. UO Librarian Deb Carver says the Bellotti Family Fund will be used to help UO Libraries become a leader in developing new technologies to support research, teaching and access to information.

The College of Arts and Sciences' $25,000 will be put to use immediately while the other $50,000 will be placed in an endowment. Carver hopes to grow the endowment to $325,000 in the next year and eventually, to $1 million or more, with contributions from other donors.

'This university has been loyal to me and provided me with a great opportunity,' says Mike Bellotti, head football coach since 1995. 'My family and I felt we were blessed and wanted to give something back to the university, both to the athletic department and to the university itself. We felt the library is something used by all students so maybe our gift could do the greatest good there.'

The Bellottis also are giving $50,000 to the Ducks' athletics department to be used towards the expansion of Autzen Stadium.

'Mike's gift is one more confirmation of the kind of person he is,' says UO President Dave Frohnmayer. 'He believes the most valuable award his student-athletes can take away from here is not a Heisman Trophy or an entry in the record books but a college education. The university gave Mike its Pioneer Award this year because he embodies-and demonstrates through his actions-the values and ideals that we strive to communicate to all our students.'

'It's hard for me to express my excitement,' says Carver, who learned about the library gift when Bellotti announced it unexpectedly during the May 11 dinner where he received the UO's 2002 Pioneer Award. 'We've been thinking for a long time that the library was in a good position to be a kind of bridge between athletics and academics. We have been exploring ideas for working with them more closely to help unify the campus in a meaningful way. This gift is a first step toward that unification.'

In deciding how to spend the earnings from the new endowment, Carver says, 'We started thinking about who Mike Bellotti is, what he's done for the university. Innovation and leadership was what came to mind. So we've earmarked the fund for innovative technologies. We'll use that money to take a leadership role not just in purchasing new technologies but in developing them ourselves.'

Oregon Athletics Director Bill Moos says he was 'impressed but not surprised' by the Bellottis' library gift.

'Because this has been such an extraordinary year for Oregon athletics, I thought it would be appropriate to use some of the funds resulting from our success to match Mike's gift,' Moos says. 'All students at our university can benefit from the library. I share with Mike the hope that ourcontributions will make a difference.'

Joe Stone, dean of the UO College of Arts and Sciences, says he decided to match the gift because 'we wanted to help in underscoring the campus-wide importance of the library and the symbolic cooperation of Coach Bellotti, athletics and the College of Arts and Sciences in support of the library.'

Bellotti coached the Ducks last year to their most successful football season in UO history - winning the Pacific-10 Conference championship with an 11-1 record, accumulating the most wins in school history and defeating Colorado, 38-16, in the Fiesta Bowl to end the year with a No. 2 national ranking.

The school's eighth-year head coach has accumulated more wins during his Oregon tenure (60-23) than any other program in the Pac-10.

Although it's unusual for a college football coach to make a private gift to the academic side of campus, Bellotti says he was influenced by the actions of another winning football coach - Joe Paterno of Penn State - who has made several contributions to the Penn State libraries and other academic programs.

For information on how to contribute to the Bellotti Family Fund for UO Libraries, contact Lisa Manotti, director of library development, (541) 346-1823.

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