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Duquesne basketball fund-raiser exceeds expectations

| Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 10:48 p.m.

Duquesne announced Tuesday the success of a new athletics fund for its basketball programs that already has secured more than $1 million in donations over the next five years.

The Fund for Basketball Excellence, earmarked for both the men's and women's programs, will be used for travel, academic and administrative assistance, promotions and marketing, as well as facility upgrades and new equipment. Created last spring, the fund sought to secure 10 initial donors before Dec. 31 who could pledge $100,000.

“The overwhelming response allowed us to reach our goal sooner than expected, and speaks volumes about the growing support and excitement for Duquesne basketball,” athletic director Greg Amodio said.

Among the donors were Arnold E. Burchianti II, Thomas B. Grealish, Paul M. Matvey Jr., John R. Rupprecht Jr., Janice L. Schaming, Daniel V. and Kenneth A. Unico, and Michael R. Vozza Jr. Three donors remained anonymous.

“I couldn't have been more pleased (with the response),” Amodio said. “Some were already giving to athletics and upped their commitment. And we saw some new folks come to the table, which is always terrific.”

This fund will coincide with the existing Duquesne Athletic Fund, which sought donations up to $10,000.

In recent years, Duquesne has increased school funding to its basketball programs. Operating budgets have grown and facilities were upgraded, including offices, workout areas and the teams' practice gym. The court, scoreboard and seats at Palumbo Center also were recently renovated.

“I think our coaching staff would tell you we have plenty of money in the budget to recruit and for equipment, but it's all the other elements you're trying to enhance,” said Amodio, who expected additional charter flights and televised games could be available as a result of the fund. “That's big for recruiting. Kids want to know, Can my family see me on TV? ... How do we travel when we go on the road?

“Those are competitive elements in recruiting that you'd like to have the right answers.”

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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