Former Memphis Press Scimitar sports editor and current WHBQ-AM radio talk show personality George Lapides has made a cash and gift donation to the University of Memphis athletic department which will generate funds for future athletic department projects designed to aid the student-athlete.
"My wife Barbara and I have always felt that those of us who have made our livings and provided for our families in Memphis, especially those of us who have lived and worked here for most or all of our lives, should give whatever they can afford back to the community," Lapides said.
Lapides' gift to the Tigers includes his sports memorabilia collection, which is made up in part of the old Memphis Press Scimitar sports library, as well as items from former All-American Bo Jackson's professional career in Memphis.
"I feel very fortunate that I've been able to do something to which I first aspired when I was in the fifth grade at Vollentine School â that is, work in journalism, and I know that whatever success I've enjoyed has helped enable Barbara and I to make contributions to some of the causes we feel strongly about," he continued.
"A major reason for any success I've had is that I have been able to cover hundreds, maybe thousands, of athletic events sponsored by the University of Memphis. And that's why when R.C. Johnson asked me to make an additional contribution to the university, I agreed â with Barbara's consent and blessing â to do it. There are four or five entities, some profit and some nonprofit, that rank near the top of the list of what has made Memphis a better place for us to live and the University of Memphis is certainly high up on that list."
Items from Lapides' sports collection are expected to bring sizable bids during future U of M athletic auctions. Expected to generate interest are Jackson's Memphis Chicks jerseys (home and away), his first in professional baseball. Lapides obtained the uniform parts during his tenure as president and CEO of the Memphis Chicks. Also donated were a new set of Ben Hogan irons, complete with long iron hybrids.
"I want to thank George and Barbara for their generosity not only to the University but the City of Memphis as well," said Tiger Athletic Director R.C. Johnson. "George's name has long been synonymous with athletics in the Mid-South and his dedication to the Tigers and our athletic programs has never wavered.
"As our way of saying thank you to George and Barbara, we are naming Associate Athletic Director Bob Winn's office in their honor. We will have a plaque mounted at the entrance of the room so that our visitors, our student-athletes and those athletes who will come in future years, will know they are in a special place made possible by some very special friends."