Feb. 16, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan's newly dedicated Player Development Center for basketball will be named in honor of the late William Davidson. The U-M Board of Regents approved the naming, the William Davidson Player Development Center, at its meeting today (Thursday, Feb. 16).
"Mr. Davidson had a passion for Michigan and for basketball," said Dave Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. "We are pleased and grateful that the William Davidson Foundation chose to support Michigan Athletics as a way to honor him. This facility will have a profound and positive impact on our student-athletes and staffs for years to come."
The William Davidson Foundation provided a leadership gift of $7.5 million in support of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. In addition to this latest gift by the foundation, William Davidson through Guardian Industries made a gift establishing the William Davidson Institute that is affiliated with the Stephen Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Davidson and his wife, Karen, have been generous donors and leading volunteers for the university. Davidson served on the President's Advisory Group, the Michigan Difference National Campaign Cabinet, and the Business School Visiting Committee. Karen serves on the President's Advisory Group and the Taubman Medical Research Institute Advisory Board, and is a board member for the William Davidson Institute.
In recognition of William Davidson's latest gift to athletics and his ongoing support for the university, the new facility will be named in his honor.
The U-M Board of Regents approved the construction of the Player Development Center for both the men's and women's basketball programs in September 2009. The 57,000-square-foot facility is adjacent to the basketball arena. The development center includes two basketball practice courts, team locker rooms for players and coaches, athletic medicine facilities, and an equipment room on the ground floor. The second floor has offices for the men's and women's coaching staffs and administrative functions, as well as film rooms and strength and conditioning space.
A former student and athlete at the University of Michigan, Davidson received a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1947 and was a member of the Michigan track and field team. Davidson went on to earn a juris doctor degree from Wayne State University. Michigan awarded him an honorary degree in 2001. Karen Davidson earned a bachelor's degree from U-M in 1989.
While successfully running the family business, Guardian Industries, Davidson acquired the Detroit Pistons in 1974 from the late Fred Zollner. He owned and ran the Pistons until his passing in March 2009, making the franchise into the model organization for the NBA. Davidson and his partners owned the Pistons, The Palace and DTE Energy Music Theatre.
Davidson became the first owner in sports history to win championships in three different professional leagues -- the NBA, the WNBA and the NHL -- in one season. In 2003-04, the Pistons claimed the organization's third NBA championship in franchise history, the Tampa Bay Lightning won its first Stanley Cup, and the Shock won its first WNBA championship.
The Michigan Athletics Department will honor the late William Davidson at halftime of the final home men's basketball game this season when U-M hosts Purdue on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m.
Media Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423