Belmont University Athletics officially opened the Crockett Center for Athletic Excellence on May 27 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration.
Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, Director of Athletics Scott Corley and Board of Trustees Chairman Marty Dickens welcomed and addressed a gathering of Belmont student-athletes, alumni and guests.
The Crockett Center for Athletic Excellence will serve as the primary training home for Belmont’s nationally-regarded men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs, and complement the existing game day facility at the Curb Event Center. In addition to housing two full courts for basketball and volleyball, the two-story, 45,000 square-foot facility features athletic training and strength and conditioning space, a video room with theatre-style seating, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, conference rooms, equipment rooms and team lounge areas.
The Center, named for local businessman and former owner of Franklin American Mortgage Dan Crockett, connects to the University’s recently-opened tennis facility and serves as the latest example of Belmont’s meteoric rise within NCAA Division I athletics.
“This is a historic day for our University and athletic program,” Fisher said. “The Crockett Center for Athletic Excellence serves as a magnificent centerpiece to bridge the proud history and exciting future of Belmont Athletics. Dan is a visionary who understands and values how college athletics can shape a young person’s character and empower them with the drive, persistence and discipline needed to succeed in any chosen career. I am so honored and grateful for Dan’s continued generosity to Belmont, this being the latest example in providing student-athletes resources to thrive academically, athletically and spiritually.”
“Belmont is a visionary place in its mission to reach young people from all walks of life, not only in the United States but abroad as well,” Crockett said. “The University has grown into a larger institution but still connects on a personal level with its students, and athletics is a means to that end. Athletics teach so much to young people – tenacity, resilience, teamwork, leadership, accountability, respect, patience, and discipline, to name a few. Inspiring our youth with the powerful opportunity of athletics is among one of the many things for which I am passionate, and I truly believe the qualities learned help prepare these young men and women for the opportunities that life will bring post-education.”
After being a successful two-sport athlete (football and baseball) at Lambuth University, Crockett graduated and began a business career at a small, struggling mortgage broker in Brentwood, Tennessee. In 1994, the firm’s owners wanted out of the business and offered Crockett the opportunity to purchase the company. At 26, he became a business owner, immediately changing the name to Franklin American Mortgage and establishing a vision to become a Top 20 lender. In 2018, Franklin American sold to Citizens Financial Group. A former member of Belmont’s Board of Trustees, one of Crockett’s daughters is a rising sophomore at Belmont.
“This is an incredibly special day for me since Dan has been a good friend since we were 13 years old playing baseball on the same Little League team,” Corley said. “Whether in sports or business, he developed a culture that promoted a team-first mentality while pursuing excellence in every detail, which I’m proud to say are also hallmarks of Belmont’s Athletics programs. Having his name on the Crockett Center for Athletic Excellence will remind our student-athletes on a daily basis of our continued commitments to these tenets.”
Belmont women’s basketball celebrated a historic 2020-21 season, securing the program’s first NCAA tournament win beating fifth-seeded and No. 13 ranked Gonzaga on March 22. The Bruins’ 21-6 season marked their sixth consecutive year with 20+ victories, and their March 6 OVC Tournament Championship win represented their fifth tournament championship in six years. Head Coach Bart Brooks became the third-fastest to 100 career victories among all active NCAA Division I women’s basketball head coaches. Demonstrating their drive off the court as well, the Bruins have earned an Academic Top 25 ranking from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association in five of the last six years and tallied their second-highest ranking in program history last fall after finishing the 2019-20 season with an unprecedented team 3.709 grade point average.
The new facility will also contribute to the continued excellence of Belmont’s men’s basketball team, which won the OVC Regular Season Championship and DC Paradise Jam with a 26-4 record. The Bruins earned national Top 25 poll votes eight consecutive weeks (Jan. 11-March 1) this past season and have been ranked among the national “first-look” Top 25 for 2021-22 by ESPN.com, The Athletic and Stadium. Belmont and Gonzaga are the only two programs in the nation to claim at least 12 conference regular season titles and 12 conference tournament championship games the last 16 years. The Bruins are also one of only six programs in America to win 50 or more games the last two seasons. Belmont men’s basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 17 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is the only NCAA Division I program in the country to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence. Belmont recently earned its sixth OVC Team Sportsmanship Award in nine years of OVC membership.
Belmont’s volleyball team is a five-time conference champion, appearing in the NCAA Tournament in 2006, 2008, 2012 and most recently in 2015. Volleyball also earned the 2019-20 United States Marine Corps (UMSC)/ American Volleyball Coaches’ Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award, an honor the team has received 14 times since 2001.
Belmont tennis, led by program director and two-time OVC Coach of the Year Mauricio Antun, is showing tremendous growth and promise; the men’s team is coming off a dramatic OVC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament match at Ole Miss, while the women’s team boasts 11 all-conference selections.