Hank Gathers, the late Loyola Marymount University basketball great recalled for his on-court excellence, will be honored with a statue commemorating his achievements.
LMU athletic director Craig Pintens said the statue is scheduled to be unveiled in Spring 2020, in front of Gersten Pavilion — a.k.a “Hank’s House” — where, three decades ago, Gathers and his Lion teammates captured the national attention with a run-and-shoot style that produced a trip to the NCAA’s Elite Eight.
But Gathers, who led the country in scoring and rebounding as a junior and made All-America as a senior, never played in that tournament. Shortly after making a dunk shot in the finals of the 1990 West Coast Conference Tournament, he collapsed on the court, was taken to the hospital and died later that evening. He had suffered from an abnormal heartbeat and a heart muscle disorder.
Gathers remains LMU’s all-time leader in points (2,490) and scoring average (28 per game), and second leading rebounder (985). rebounds grabbed is second-most in program history. Along with his Philadelphia high school teammate Bo Kimble, Gathers helped lead the Lions to two WCC titles and two NCAA tournament appearances.
The statue will be created by the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany, the firm behind many other notable statues, including Michael Jordan at the United Center in Chicago, David Beckham at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, and several at Staples Center in Los Angeles, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“We are thankful to Loyola Marymount University for resurrecting Hank and bringing him back to campus," said Derrick Gathers, Hanks’ brother. "It is very special to our family and we are honored that the statue will have a permanent home at LMU.”
“Hank has an extraordinary player, a formidable opponent and a fierce competitor who elevated LMU basketball to unprecedented heights,” Pintens said. “We also celebrate who Hank was off the court — dedicated to his family, loyal to his teammates and committed to his education at LMU. We are pleased to partner with the Gathers family to honor Hank's enduring legacy with a statue, so that all who visit the bluff may be inspired by the indelible mark he left on LMU.”
The $250,000 project will be funded entirely with private donations. To learn more about the statue and Gathers' legacy, visit hank44.lmu.edu.
Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).
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