Athletics News
Transcript: Utah State Quotes From Wayne Estes Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

May 14, 2014

LOGAN, Utah - Utah State Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes, University President Stan Albrecht, Ron Estes - Wayne Estes' brother, sophomore men's basketball player Jalen Moore, head men's basketball coach Stew Morrill, Blake Kirby - Chairman of the Board of Inovar, Inc., and Jim Laub - President and Chief Executive Officer of Cache Valley Electric, all spoke at Wednesday's grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Wayne Estes Center. A complete transcript can be found below.

Kent Stanley, Associate Vice President for Advancement
"Good afternoon everyone. On behalf of Aggie Athletics and Utah State University, I thank you for joining us for the grand opening of the Wayne Estes Center. Today represents the fulfillment of a long-held vision - a vision that would enhance multiple sports and in this case, permanently enshrine one of Utah State's greatest student-athletes. We have a short program today that brings together many of the key voices in making this building possible."

University President Stan Albrecht
"I'm sitting up front with a group of coaches who have big smiles on their faces. As I look out into the audience, I see student-athletes with smiles on their faces. This is for you. It's a great day for all of us."

"I spent some quiet time last night reflecting on the journey we've taken over the last several years. We've come a long way. We've climbed some pretty steep mountains with bumps and bruises along the way. We've made it through those and we've persevered to make some commitments and reach some goals that are absolutely essential to the athletic future at Utah State University. I need you to know that there are still hills to climb and we'll be calling upon many of you to assist with that. There are challenges yet to come, but Utah State will remain competitive and will continue to succeed."

"As I review the literature on organizations that succeed and organizations that fail, there is a very common theme there. Many organizations on the right road to mortalization are on that road because they can't imagine any other. At Utah State we've chosen to imagine something different. We've chosen to make things happen. We've done it the USU way. One of my favorite books as a young child was `The Little Engine That Could'. At Utah State University, we've been `that little engine that could'. I think we've accomplished things that no other institution could accomplish. That's a major quality of people across the university."

"This facility is for our students, but it's for our fans. Our hopes and dreams for this institution has been sufficiently compelling that many have been willing to step up and join us on the journey that we undertook. We could not have done what we've done without their help. There's been a great deal of urgency as we dealt with migration from one athletic conference to another. Successful leadership in a successful organization is often constituted of a group of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose and who are willing to hold themselves totally accountable to that purpose. I've been fortunate that my presidency has been characterized by exactly that type of leadership team."

"Over the last several years we've been given great facilities, hired great administrators and outstanding coaches, we've recruited student-athletes and put ourselves in a position to compete in all of our sports. What a great journey forward and what a great place to be. I offer my appreciation to the Estes family. We now have major facilities named after what in my perspective are the two greatest athletes in Utah State University history, Wayne Estes and Merlin Olsen."

Scott Barnes, Vice President and Director of Athletics
"Thank you, President Albrecht for your support and leadership in all that we do with our great university. What a great day to be an Aggie. You've heard me say that before, but I can't think of a better time as we celebrate today and what we've done to preserve the Wayne Estes legacy."

"Let me take this opportunity to tell you what this project means to Utah State. It's a project that although talked about, wasn't really conceptualized until three or four years ago. The motivation for that was scheduling nightmares in trying to figure out men's basketball, women's basketball and volleyball could practice any given day. When you think about the office space in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, our coaches literally steered recruits away from the offices. The final nudge was 16 years of listening to Stew Morrill tell us he didn't have a window."

"So what's contained in this project? 32,000 square feet, two full courts running east and west for basketball practice, a volleyball competition venue that runs north and south, coaches offices, conference rooms, an in-season weight room to complement the ICON Sports Performance Center, and locker rooms and a lounge area for volleyball. There's a film and team room for volleyball as well, then as a playing venue there are stand-alone concessions and ticket operations."

"Let's talk about those who made this happen. We've mentioned Jim and Carol Laub. Words cannot describe what they've meant to this athletic program and to me personally. They are tremendous contributors who understand and want to advance the mission. It's not about what they get back; it's about how to make us better. Blake Kirby`s gift came at a time when we absolutely needed it. It really got this project to the finish line with the quality that you see. Thank you for stepping up and doing what you did for this building. Another major contributor, the Miller Foundation. Thank you for being here as well. We also need to recognize Okland Construction, congratulations on a great job. We also appreciate our architects at VCBO. This isn't their first rodeo, as they helped us with the Laub Complex."

Ron Estes
"Thank you, Mr. Barnes. Before I forget anyone, I want to say thank you so much for everything that you've done. It's incredible. Several months ago I received a phone call from Mr. Barnes where he explained to me the plans and what was going to take place for the center here. He asked me if I had any objections and to talk to my family to see if it was alright to have the center named in Wayne's memory. I can't say enough about this."

"Wayne was born and raised in Anaconda, Mont., that was his home. He was recruited and came to Utah State to play ball. Logan, Utah was his home away from home. He loved the people of Utah. He had great teammates and a great coach in Ladell Andersen. The people of Logan welcomed him and made him a part of the community. It's a special honor for me and our family to be a part of this. When you lose someone who's as special to your life as my brother was to me, it becomes very important to you to keep their memory alive. You know you won't forget, but you want others to remember and celebrate the wonderful person he was and the things that he did. I know as long as Utah State stands, my brother Wayne's memory will stand tall, just like he was. On behalf of myself, my family, my friends and the people of Anaconda, thank you for everything."

Jalen Moore, USU Sophomore Men's Basketball Player
"This is a true honor to be here on behalf of all of USU's student-athletes. I want to say thank you to all the donors, boosters, administrators, coaches and former athletes for this great building. It seems like just a few months ago we were here for the groundbreaking ceremony, now it's the grand opening."

"No longer will we have to start our winter practices in the film room in the Spectrum and walk over to the HPER. We can just walk right into this new building and get our practice going. All student-athletes who will be using this building will benefit from it being here. This will help us get the extra work we need to improve our individual skills to help us succeed."

"I've only been here for a year, but a lot has happened in that time, from the new weight room to this new building. A lot of people love the direction Utah State is going with its athletics and I think it's great. This new facility will help me as an individual and to help my team. The building will also be useful in recruiting purposes for the three sports. This facility and our other new additions are top-notch and are the best in the Mountain West."

"From all the student-athletes at Utah State, we want to give a special thank you to Ron Estes and his family for being here today and to Mr. Laub and Mr. Kirby for their contributions and everything they do for Utah State. We all look forward to using this new facility and cheering on the volleyball team on their new home court. I couldn't be more proud to be an Aggie."

Stew Morrill, Head Men's Basketball Coach
"About 33 years ago when I started courting my wife Vicky, she said to me that I would always say, in a very subdued tone, that `I'm fired up.' Well, the years have not really helped my enthusiasm, but I'll tell you straight up, I'm fired up. This is unbelievable."

"I've done what some might call trash-talking over the last 16 years. I was mostly having fun, but Kent (Stanley) would tell you I also made my point. Have you been in my office in the Spectrum? We did not take recruits in there. I was at Montana for 13 years and 16 years her without an office window. If I'm a little goofy, please forgive me, but 29 years without a window will do that. I probably did a little trash talking."

"When Grayson (DuBose) brings recruits here, this is a volleyball facility. When Jerry (Finkbeiner) or I bring basketball recruits here, this is a men's or women's practice gym. That's the way it's got to be. I've had several conversations with Grayson telling him and explaining to him that Wayne Estes was a basketball player. I do need to be able to get into this building now and then and we're looking forward to it."

"The biggest recruiting mistake ever made in the state of Wyoming was Jaycee Carroll. Wyoming did not offer or get Jaycee Carroll and obviously, he became an Aggie. The greatest recruiting mistake ever made in the state of Montana was Wayne Estes. This is an unbelievable event for your family in honoring him. I'm old enough to have seen him play, I was 11 years old when the accident happened. Take it from a basketball coach, he could play now. He could be really good now. In fact, I could use him next year for sure. He shot hooks from the short corner, had an unbelievable touch and was just a special player. What a great honor to have this building named after him."

"I don't think Scott Barnes gets the credit he deserves. In the eight years he's been here, it's amazing what has transpired on our campus. The same goes to President Albrecht and all of campus. It's not even the same campus anymore. The first eight years I was here, we didn't make a lot of progress. In the last eight years since Scott has been here, it's been unbelievable."

"If you're going to get players at the Mountain West level, you have to show them things. They want to see where they're going to practice. We're going to practice in the Spectrum when we can, but we're also going to practice here. This is something unbelievably special. You have to have weight rooms, academic buildings and practice facilities if you're going to recruit the modern-day student-athlete. We've taken a huge step forward with all of our buildings."

"To all of the donors that everyone has thanked, I want to do the same. Jim, I know you don't like us to say things about you. What you've done financially is one thing, but your love of Utah State is unbelievable. I think Blake feels a little funny about having his name on the court, but I don't. To the Miller family for jumping on board and all the other donors, we just thank you so much. From all of our coaches and student-athletes, we thank everyone so much. Did I talk about my windows? Count them. There are 12 windows in my office. All I asked for was one, but I got 12 big windows with the best view of the Valley you can possibly have. For an old coach, they decided to shut him up and they did just that. It's been an amazing 16 years for me here. I'm so honored to be the basketball coach at Utah State. Thank you for allowing me to be the basketball coach at Utah State. We're going to keep striving to move up in the Mountain West Conference."

Blake Kirby, Chairman of the Board of Inovar, Inc.
"I don't know how you follow Stew Morrill, it's like teeing off after Tiger Woods. To say that Utah State has been a blessing to my family, to my career and to my life is an understatement. I am so humbled to be involved in this project. When we had our final meeting, Scott shared Jim's vision of what this building would be about with the naming and legacy of the Wayne Estes Center. It touched a chord because my father went to school with Wayne and told me the story of what a great player he was time and time again. It was an incredible inspiration for me growing up. I look out and am overwhelmed by the Aggie friends who have done so much for this program."

"I don't know a lot about growing a great athletic program, but in business it takes leadership, management, facilities and an incredible product. Most importantly, what I've learned is that it takes purpose. The purpose at Utah State is the student-athlete. That's what it's all about. The quote on the wall about Wayne Estes summarizes what this is all about. As great of a player as Wayne Estes was, he was a better human being. I'm hoping that's what we can teach our students here at Utah State."

Jim Laub, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cache Valley Electric
"From where I'm standing, this looks like our first sell-out in this facility. Over the last several years, it's become almost a daily saying that it's a great day to be an Aggie. That's especially true today. Today we are all here together to celebrate the opening of this beautiful Wayne Estes Center. Wayne Estes is the best basketball player in Utah State University history. It is fitting that we're here celebrating this new facility and his legacy. The exhibits will ensure that all present and future generations of Aggie fans will never forget his contributions and leave us wondering how much more he could have accomplished had his life not been tragically cut short."

"It is very rare that a building is named after an undergraduate, but Wayne was a very rare and special individual. In today's culture you often read athletes quoted as saying, `I am not a role model.' In my opinion, these athletes are dead wrong. Any recognizable athlete is a role model and it is up to each individual to determine if they are a good or a negative role model. Wayne Estes epitomizes what a positive role model is."

"As an impressionable teenager back in the 1960s when Wayne Estes was a student-athlete at USU, he made a great and positive impression on not only me, but all the youth in Logan. When Scott Barnes asked me for my suggestion for a potential name for this facility, it was easy for me to come up with the name of the Wayne Estes Center. I am proud to have been asked to participate in this project and am proud of what this building represents for USU, the Logan community and the state of Utah. While I am proud to be a part of this project, most of the thanks need to go to the unprecedented leadership of President Albrecht and Scott Barnes. Without their leadership and vision, this facility would not be here today. Also special thanks to Blake Kirby and his family, and numerous other companies and individuals who have donated to this project. I also give a special thank you and welcome to the Ron Estes family. I hope this is a great way to memorialize your brother and the great contributions he made to Utah State."

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