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Mount Dedicates New Tennis Courts and Breaks Ground on Rooney Athletic Performance Center

Donna Klinger

tennis court dedication with Rooneys

Cutting the ribbon on the new state-of-the-art tennis courts are Patrick J. Rooney, Jr. and Patricia Rooney, John Rooney, C'60, and Alice Rooney Mahoney, C'86, as President Trainor looks on.

Four generations of the Rooney family returned to Mount St. Mary’s University on October 1 to dedicate six new tennis courts that represent the first phase of the Rooney Athletic Performance Center project, as well as to break ground on the next step in the project.

tennis-courts-groundbreaking21-003-in-text.jpgThe multi-phase project is made possible by a $6 million transformational gift that John J. and Patrick J. Rooney, and their spouses JoAnn and Sandy, respectively, made to promote growth and enhanced performances for the Mount’s Division I athletic program as well as increased intramural sport and recreational opportunities for all students. John and Pat Rooney, twins from the family that owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, both graduated from the Mount in 1960.

In thanking the Rooney family for their generosity, Mount St. Mary’s University President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D., noted that the current and future students who will benefit from this gift are following athletes who have competed over the years at the Mount, including professional baseball great Babe Ruth, who was discovered on Echo Field, track Olympic gold medalist Peter Rono, C92, John Rooney in the pole vault and other track and field events, and Pat Rooney in tennis.

groundbreaking21-008-tandf.jpgIn the past six years, the university’s athletic program has grown from 16 to 24 NCAA Division I teams and from 290 to nearly 600 students. “Mount students have a growing affinity for athletic competition at the highest levels. This gift will support the goals of today’s and tomorrow’s student-athletes, providing increased opportunities to compete at the highest levels, as well as offer additional opportunities for all students to keep fit,” Trainor said. “Lessons learned when competing in athletics help our students to compete and succeed in life.”

Attending the ceremonies were John Rooney, C’60, John’s daughter Alice Rooney Mahoney, C’86, son-in-law Sean Mahoney, Sr., C’86, and grandson Sean Mahoney Jr., C’12, and his infant son, as well as Patrick’s son, Patrick J. Rooney, Jr., and his wife Patricia. Also in attendance were Director of Cross Country, Track & Field Jay Phillips, C’05, and members of the track and field team, who thanked John Rooney for his interest in and support of their team over the years.

groundbreaking21-006-tennis-in-text.jpgPatrick, Sr., who was captain of the tennis team in his senior year, has many fond memories of his time at the Mount and the lifelong friends that he made, said his son Patrick, Jr., in remarks on behalf of his father who was unable to attend. “This was one of the happiest places in his life,” said Patrick, Jr., who noted that the tennis courts that his father practiced and competed on were where Veterans Walkway is now located and would not meet today’s standards. The six new lighted courts have a state-of-the-art playing surface and add to the outdoor sports complex.

The previous tennis courts are being removed to make room for the Rooney Athletic Performance Center. Alice Rooney Mahoney, Patrick Jr. and Patricia Rooney,  President Trainor, and Athletics Director Lynne Robinson, C’79, MBA’83, participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the athletic performance center, roonet-groundbreaking-rendering.jpgwhich will house multi-use courts, student and Mount community workout and fitness spaces, and campus recreation offices.

In expressing gratitude for the generous gift, Athletics Director Robinson noted her delight in watching Mount athletics grow through the years. “When the Mount became coed and enrollment grew, it became apparent that athletics needed to grow as well. We’re in another pivotal time of growth,” she said. “I’m excited for future generations who will be able to learn and train with pride in these facilities.”

More photos are on the university's Flickr account.

Donna Klinger