Gift the Building Block for Puskar Weight Room

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • April 19, 2013 03:06 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With hopes of keeping the West Virginia University football team in line with its Big 12 Conference peers, alumnus J. Wayne Richards and his wife, Kathy, have made a gift toward the renovation of the Milan Puskar Center Weight Room.

Natives of South Charleston, W.Va., the Richards recently pledged $250,000 to the Mountaineer Athletic Club (MAC) to help fund the renovation project that began right after Christmas and is expected to be completed in July. Located on the field level of the stadium underneath the south end zone, the weight room has undergone a complete renovation, which has been overseen by the project’s general contractor, March Westin.

“I am an avid Mountaineer fan, and the Puskar Center Weight Room renovation is a current, relevant project for the WVU football team,” says Richards. “I’m very excited about what has already transpired under the leadership of (WVU Director of Athletics) Oliver Luck, coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff, but I realize that in order for WVU to compete within the Big 12 Conference and at the sport’s highest level, many people are going to have to step up and help out. Weight training is a crucial part of the development of the student-athlete and impacts his success on the football field. My family is excited to help update the Puskar Center Weight Room.”

Currently a Texas resident, Richards, a 1981 WVU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering, has spent his career in the oilfield services sector. He spent 25 years in a number of senior operational and sales and marketing positions with Schlumberger. Most recently, he has served as president and chief executive officer of Global Oilfiend Services in Sugar Land, Texas.

Along with his wife Kathy, who earned her degree in dental hygiene at WVU Tech in Montgomery, W.Va., Richards has closely followed the project’s progress and is excited to get a second glance at the updates at Saturday’s Gold-Blue Game presented by Kroger.

“We saw the project’s progress in March – it already looks great, and it’s amazing what is still to come,” Richards continues. “I’ve seen a few other weight room facilities within the Big 12 Conference, and I’m excited to see West Virginia University make this move so the football program can attract some of the nation’s best athletes and compete at the highest level.

“Kathy and I will be in town for this weekend’s Gold-Blue Game, and we’re looking forward to seeing even more progress.”

“With our move to the Big 12 Conference, the Milan Puskar Center Weight Room renovation is an important project to ensure that the Mountaineers stay in-line with their new peers,” says Matt Borman, the associate athletic director/executive director of the MAC. “Wayne, Kathy and the Richards family have provided tremendous support, and they are very excited about the future of the WVU football program. We appreciate their wonderful gift, and we are all excited to witness the lasting impact this gift will have on the program’s future success.”

The Richards simultaneously pledged $250,000 to the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Statler College Building Fund to help fund construction for the Advanced Engineering Research Building. Their gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750 million comprehensive campaign, conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University, runs through December 2015.