Kentucky's biggest donors continue to help move the needle in terms of production and contributing to the future success of UK Athletics. Joe and Kelly Craft have decided to donate $7.5 million dollars towards the football indoor practice facility as the program plans to take out the indoor track and expand the football field and allow more area for the practices to be held.
A project that was announced earlier in the year seems to finally be getting closer to breaking ground. The incoming construction will also be regarding a brand new track-only indoor facility for the track team to have since their indoor track at the current facility (Nutter Fieldhouse) is being scheduled to be torn apart.
According to the Herald Leader, the new indoor track facility will take site at the old baseball stomping grounds of Cliff Hagan Stadium. The new facility will also be named after Jim Green, who is the first African-American athlete to graduate from the university (1971) and was a former UK track star.
"Joe and Kelly have been very, very helpful to our program in so many ways for so long, almost since I’ve been here... They’ve been sort of the cornerstone of our ability to grow our facilities. Obviously, the (Nutter Field House) is in bad need of renovation. It’s a 30-year facility. It affects literally probably close to 250 student athletes," said UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart at the Board of Trustees athletics committee meeting. He continues with, "The indoor track facility is representative of a couple things. No. 1, our incredible success that our track and field programs have. We’ve got student athletes that are competing on the world-wide level that deserve to train in a facility that is representative of that. We’re training world champions and Olympic champions and national champions, and I want them to want to come home and train in our place.”
The Craft's have donated tens of millions of dollars to the school over the last decade and are - by a far margin - the biggest (financial) contributors to the athletic department. As you might already know, the men's basketball practice facility is named after Joe as the "Joe Craft Center." Joe and Kelly also funded the athletes dorm facilities over at the Wildcat Coal Lodge too. Along with many of other foundations, funds, buildings, charitable events and much more, our sports teams are in a much better place because of them and this is another excellent contribution by the two.