Ben Sutton Gives $15M Gift for Sutton Sports Performance Center & Basketball Player Development Center
Nov. 1, 2016

By Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@DemonDeacons)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest soon will break ground on the Sutton Sports Performance Center thanks to the continued generosity of Ben Sutton (’80, JD ’83, P ’14, P ’16 and P ’19). Sutton’s most recent gift of $15 million has made it possible to build a state-of-the-art facility designed to improve the overall competitiveness of Demon Deacon student-athletes.

Preliminary site work begins this month and a ceremonial groundbreaking will be held in spring 2017.

The four-level, 87,000 square-foot facility will be connected to McCreary Field House on the Reynolda Campus and include:

• More than 10,000 square feet of dedicated strength and conditioning facilities for football;
• Strength and conditioning space for men’s and women’s soccer, track & field, men’s and women’s golf, field hockey and volleyball;
• 17,000 square feet of office and team space for men’s and women’s basketball including heritage areas and team meeting rooms (3rd floor);
• 18,000 square feet of office space for football staff to include heritage areas, team meeting rooms and other team spaces (4th floor);
• Convenient access to sports science technology for evaluation and performance metrics;
• More than 1,500 square feet of customized space for a nutrition area;
• Enhanced sports medicine and training resources, including an expanded hydrotherapy area.

In addition to the Sutton Sports Performance Center, Wake Forest will also break ground on a 24,400 square-foot Basketball Player Development Center — a $12 million project that will enable the men’s and women’s basketball programs to avoid scheduling issues that have made sharing one facility challenging. Connecting the Sutton Sports Performance Center to the Miller Center, the Basketball Player Development Center will feature:

• Additional regulation court with seven goals dedicated to the men’s basketball team;
• 6,000 square feet of dedicated strength and conditioning for men’s and women’s basketball;
• Easy access to basketball sports medicine facilities, including a cryotherapy chamber.

One of Wake Forest’s most ardent benefactors, Sutton’s commitment to Wake Forest’s includes nearly $27 million in lifetime giving. In 2012, his family made the lead gift of $5 million for the Sutton Wellness & Recreation Center, an addition to the historic W.N. Reynolds Gymnasium to support campus-wide wellbeing with 46,000 square feet of flexible space for fitness programming and a venue for both academic and social gatherings that opened earlier this year. He also established the Ben C. Sutton Scholarship in his father’s name to benefit students from North Carolina.

“In my work with ISP and IMG, I have had the opportunity to visit the best athletic facilities across the country. It’s incredibly exciting and rewarding to know that the completion of the Sutton Sports Performance Center will catapult Wake Forest to the top of the ACC in terms of strength, conditioning and nutrition facilities,” said Sutton. “I am thrilled to support Wake Forest’s commitment to providing student-athletes with the resources and spaces they need to succeed both on the field and off.”

“Ever since Ben enrolled as an undergraduate 40 years ago, he has been a cheerleader for Wake Forest and the success of our athletic programs,” said Athletic Director Ron Wellman. “His vision and dedication for making a difference will have an incredible impact on the future of Wake Forest sports and our ability to prepare our student-athletes to compete at top levels. We are incredibly grateful for his foresight and commitment.”

The groundbreaking of the new Sutton Sports Performance Center comes as Wake Forest recently announced it has raised more than $625 million for students, faculty, and enhancements to the Reynolda Campus through Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest. Having surpassed its initial fundraising goal of $600 million two years ahead of schedule, Wake Forest will build on support from alumni, parents and friends to extend the campaign to 2020 to raise $1 billion.

“Ben’s gift to the Sutton Sports Performance Center is yet another expression of his commitment to a culture of health and wellness for the entire Wake Forest community,” said President Nathan O. Hatch. “His generous support over the years has made it possible to offer exceptional resources to our students, faculty and staff. Ben is a leader in building the culture of philanthropy that has made and will continue to make a difference for current and future Demon Deacons.”

Always a cheerleader for Wake Forest
As the “mic man” who led cheers at home football games in 1978 and 1979, Sutton was a widely recognized voice in Wake Forest sports. Today he continues to promote Demon Deacons athletics as chairman emeritus of IMG College, the largest collegiate sports marketing company in the nation. After graduating from Wake Forest University and the Wake Forest School of Law, Sutton began his career at his alma mater, drawing national attention for helping to initiate the ACC collective marketing effort and for developing one of the most proactive sports marketing programs in the nation.

In 1992, Sutton founded ISP Sports. Over the next 18 years, he grew ISP from its first partnership with Wake Forest to more than 60 NCAA colleges and conferences. With this dramatic growth, ISP became the nation's leader in collegiate sports marketing and Sutton's innovations in cultivating and growing the value of collegiate sports multi-media assets became commonplace in the industry.

In 2010, Sutton helped lead the acquisition of ISP Sports by IMG Worldwide. The merger combined the nation's largest collegiate sports marketing company in ISP, with a strong stable of collegiate brands in IMG's existing college division to form not only the largest collegiate sports marketing company in America, but one of the biggest companies in all of sports business.

Sutton serves on numerous boards, including those for Wake Forest University, The Reagan Foundation, and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Sutton and his wife Sally live in Winston-Salem, N.C., and have two children, Addison (’14, MAM ‘16) and Trey (’19).

About Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at www.wfu.edu.

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