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Richard "Pinky" McNamara, Murray Warmath, and Bob Bruininks

Left to right, Richard "Pinky" McNamara, Murray Warmath, and President Bob Bruininks.

U football legends named honorary fundraising co-chairs

Warmath, McNamara team up again to aid stadium campaign

December 29, 2005

The University of Minnesota announced yesterday that Gopher football greats Richard "Pinky" McNamara and Murray Warmath will serve as honorary co-chairs of the "Back to Campus" football stadium fundraising campaign. McNamara is also making a $1.25 million gift to the campaign.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week's extension of the U's $35 million stadium sponsorship agreement with TCF Financial Corp. The original agreement was set to expire December 31, 2005, and will now be extended to June 30, 2006.

McNamara and Warmath will be joining overall campaign co-chairs John and Nancy Lindahl to raise private contributions for the proposed new stadium.

"I am pleased and honored to announce that these two great Gopher legends have agreed to serve as honorary co-chairs for this campaign," said University President Bob Bruininks. "Coach Warmath and Pinky McNamara are teaming up for a victory, just as they did in the 1950s. This time it's to bring Gopher football back to campus where it belongs."

Warmath was head football coach at the University of Minnesota for 18 seasons, from 1954 to 1971, a tenure longer than any other coach except Henry Williams. He led the Gophers to a national championship in1960, Big Ten championships in1960 and 1967, and back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances in 1960 and 1961. He coached nine first-team All-Americans and is considered one of the most beloved coaches in Gopher sports history.

"The University of Minnesota will benefit a great deal from having a stadium back on campus," said Warmath. "It's about more than the football games. It's also about a great atmosphere for students and for fans. My memories from my years in Memorial Stadium are vivid to this day. I'll do whatever I can to help with this project and bring that experience to a new generation."

"Thanks to this commitment from Pinky and Coach Warmath, I'm more confident than ever that we can raise our share of the money," said Joel Maturi, University athletics director.

McNamara played for Warmath from 1954 to 1956 as a halfback on offense and defense. He lettered all three years and played in the Blue-Gray all-star game in 1956. A College of Liberal Arts alumnus and successful businessman, McNamara served as a member of the Board of Regents from 2001 to 2005. In addition to the $1.25 million stadium gift, McNamara contributed $10 million in 1998 to help fund the McNamara Alumni Center and to support students and student-athletes in the College of Liberal Arts and intercollegiate athletics. In 1992 he donated $119,000 to the College of Liberal Arts in honor of his two university advisers.

"I will never be able to repay the University of Minnesota for what it has meant in my life and my career," said McNamara. "The University has made such a difference in so many lives as well as in the quality of life of this state. I am pleased to be of service to the university again, this time to bring Gopher football back to campus." (To read more about McNamara's service to the University, visit Legacy.)

The University's plan to build a $248 million, 50,000-seat campus stadium includes paying for 60 percent of the cost with nonstate dollars. A substantial portion of that cost is expected to come from corporate sponsorships and private contributions. The remaining 40 percent would be funded by the state. The fundraising campaign is responsible for raising the private gifts.

"Thanks to this commitment from Pinky and Coach Warmath, I'm more confident than ever that we can raise our share of the money," said Joel Maturi, University athletics director. "Many donors are waiting for the state to make its commitment before they make theirs. Now we need the legislature to take action on our stadium bill early in 2006."

To read more about the extension of the deal with TCF Financial Corp., see Sponsorship Agreement Extended.