The LSU Board of Supervisors voted Friday to name the court in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center after legendary LSU men’s basketball coach Dale Brown.
The Board voted in favor 12-3 to name the Dale Brown Court after much debate on the topic at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Sept. 10. Several former players and colleagues of Brown spoke in favor of the naming. There were some dissenters to the motion, arguing the naming promotes inequality between men and women in LSU’s community.
Supervisor Collis Temple Jr. was one of the biggest advocates for the naming. Temple was the first Black player in play for LSU’s basketball program when he joined in 1971 under coach Press Maravich, one year before Brown began coaching. Temple said Brown was a “champion for human dignity.”
Former assistant coach Jordy Hultberg said Brown only wanted to make his players better. Hultberg said Brown didn’t care about anyone’s differences, but only how to help his student athletes succeed.
“He just sees human beings,” Hultberg said. “He treated all of us fairly, with dignity and respect.”
LSU’s all-time leading rebounder Rudy Macklin said Brown genuinely cared about him when he was a recruit and a player. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Macklin said his father was concerned for Macklin’s safety coming to the Deep South at the time. Macklin said Brown promised his father he would keep him safe. So throughout his college career, an official from the NAACP met with him every week to ensure his safety. Macklin said that meant a lot to him and his family.
“I came [to LSU] because of him,” Macklin said. “I stayed here because of him.”
To highlight Brown’s familial approach to his relationships, another former LSU basketball player Ricky Blanton said Brown gives him a phone call on his birthday every year. He said that alone gives a sense of what kind of man Brown is.
“It matters for one thing: you’re going to be a good person and you’re going to make a difference,” Blanton said. “The guy’s a true humanitarian. If you’ve been around coach Brown, he’s all about helping people.”
One alumna did not support the naming of Dale Brown Court, because she believed any naming decisions should go through a fair and equal procedure. She also said she did not believe the naming of Dale Brown gave an equal opportunity for female athletes and coaches.
“Everyone deserves equality in all LSU sports,” the alumna said. “Naming opportunities need to come through a firm, established, standard process.”
Supervisor Mary Werner also opposed the naming. Werner said she believes female athletics should be honored more, especially in the naming of athletic facilities. She said she heard several times from Brown’s supporters that he was an advocate for minorities and women, but no females spoke at the meeting to vouch for Brown.
“It truly disturbs me that we still can’t raise a woman to the equal level of a man in this community,” Werner said.
Werner said the careers of coaches and players such as Sue Gunter and Sylvia Fowles should be considered for the naming. She said accolades and honors should be assessed equality since the Board is “the most progressive board to ever rule this university.”
“Today I'm asking my colleagues to think about those that we represent,” Werner said. “It is the university, it is the students, it is the faculty, it is the employees. It’s not just the LSU men’s basketball team.”
The motion passed with a vote of 12-3. The court will officially be called the Dale Brown Court at the Pete Maravich Assembly center.