Donor comes through

Larry F. Pratt, a native of Athens, Tenn., and president and CEO of First Savings Mortgage Corp., in McLean, Va., is the University of Tennessee's latest seven-figure donor to the basketball practice facility project that is projected to begin construction in August.

With the addition of Pratt's $5 million commitment, Tennessee officials anticipate the project will be fully funded by the time ground is broken.

Pending formal approval from the UT Board of Trustees in June, the new building will be called "Pratt Basketball Practice Pavilion." Pratt Pavilion will house two full size gymnasiums, one for each of the men's and women's varsity basketball teams, as well as space for an athletic training room, a weight room and a film study room.

"I have a longtime appreciation for the standard of excellence Pat Summitt has established for Tennessee and I have confidence that Bruce Pearl is the right coach to lead the men's program to the same level," Pratt said. "We've got to make sure that they have all the tools they need to recruit the best possible student-athletes and develop their skills to a championship level."

Both Summitt and Pearl recognize the significance of Pratt's donation.

"Tennessee is nationally-known for providing excellent facilities for its student-athletes," Summitt said. "This practice facility will help us ensure that we are continuing to compete on a national level for the best talent."

"We are so thankful for Larry's commitment to the University of Tennessee," Pearl said. "His support is helping Tennessee basketball move forward in a direction that will improve the experience and recruitment of future student-athletes."

Mike Hamilton and other UTAD officials have visited practice facilities around the country, including those at Texas, Oklahoma and Florida, during the design and planning stages of Pratt Pavilion.

"Larry has been a great friend to Tennessee and we are grateful that he is stepping forward at an important time to make this facility a reality," Hamilton said. "Pratt Pavilion will make a difference in player development and recruiting as well as give us the opportunity to have more concerts and special events in Thompson-Boling Arena."

Pratt credits his dad, the late Floyd A. Pratt, with instilling in him a love for the Vols and the desire to make a difference as a donor.

"My father always loved Tennessee athletics and he was especially interested in UT basketball. I remember the first time he took me up to a game in Alumni Gym when I was 5 years old."

This is not Pratt's first donation. He was recognized at the 2003 UT-Georgia football game for a $1 million donation to the STEP-UP Campaign. Pratt currently resides in McLean, Va. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1972 from the college of business and serves as president and CEO of First Savings Mortgage Corp., the largest private mortgage banker in Washington D.C.

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