Community Can Become Part of Larry Finch Legacy by Donating to Plaza at UofM

August 1, 2019 - Be a part of the Larry Finch legacy by making a donation to the Larry Finch Plaza and statue.

From growing up in Orange Mound to starring as a basketball player for then-Memphis State and coaching his alma mater to 220 victories, the legendary Tiger embodies the City of Memphis. To honor Finch’s legacy for generations to come, the UofM will dedicate a plaza in his name in front of the Laurie-Walton Family Basketball Center on the Park Avenue Campus in late 2020. That year also marks 100 years of UofM basketball.

The legacy and impact of Larry Finch Plaza will be an integral part of UofM history. Now the community can become a part of continuing that legacy. Those who wish to contribute to this project may donate online at larryfinch.memphis.edu.

The Plaza will showcase the many ways Finch impacted his school and hometown. Fittingly, Finch’s statue will face toward Orange Mound, serving as a nod to his beloved community.

“He is the native son,” said Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway. “He’s the one who got guys like myself to want to come to the school because he was from Memphis, from Orange Mound. From a player to an assistant to a head coach, this was his whole life.”

There are several ways to partner with the UofM and commemorate Finch’s life:

• Lead sponsors – A limited number of lead sponsorship opportunities are available, including the Presenting Sponsorship of the Plaza;

• Contributors – Recognition of gifts of $25,000 or more will be incorporated into the design of the plaza in a manner commensurate with giving level;

• Supporters – All donors of gifts of $1,000-$25,000 will listed on the donor wall, prominently displayed in proximity to the Plaza. Recognition will be commensurate with giving level; and

 • Donors of gifts of $100-$999 will be recognized in the commemorative program created for the grand opening of the Plaza.

Sculptor William Behrends has been selected to create the statue of Finch. Based in North Carolina, Behrends is known for crafting tributes to sports history. He has produced sculptures of San Francisco Giants icons Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda, which stand around the perimeter of AT&T Park. Inspired by the friendship of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball players Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, who helped advance integration in the major leagues, Behrends fashioned a sculpture depicting the two teammates for MCU Park in Brooklyn.

Local artists also will be involved in the design of the Larry Finch Plaza, with Behrends leading the collaboration.

Members of the Larry Finch Plaza Committee include: Herb Hilliard and Otis Sanford, co-chairs; Harold Byrd, Larry Finch Jr., Bobby Hall, Ted Hansom, Tammy Hedges, Cato Johnson, Elise Jordan, Myron Lowery, Mary Mitchell, Elliot Perry, Dexter Reed, Verties Sails Jr., Rochelle Stevens and John Wilfong.

For more information, contact Joanna Curtis at jecurtis@memphis.edu or 901.678.5274 or Dr. Adam Walker at awalker9@memphis.edu or 901.678.1720.