Ryan Men’s Basketball Excellence Challenge Nets Over $2.5 Million to Support Rhody Basketball Program

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KINGSTON, R.I. April 1, 2016 – The University of Rhode Island Department of Athletics and the URI Foundation announced today that it has successfully completed the $2.25 million Ryan Men’s Basketball Excellence Challenge.


Thomas ’75 and Cathy Ryan generously committed a gift of $250,000 to the newly established Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund. As part of their gift, the Ryan family agreed to double their commitment to $500,000 if other supporters and alumni contributed a total of $2.25 million in gifts or pledges by March 31, 2016. Their challenge was met, as more than $2.5 million was raised over the last 16 months.


“On behalf of the University of Rhode Island, I would like to thank Tom and Cathy, as well as all our dedicated alumni and friends, for their incredible leadership and commitment to Rhode Island Men’s Basketball,” said Director of Athletics Thorr Bjorn. “These generous gifts will help us strategically move forward in a very competitive environment. As we look to the future, the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund will assist in achieving a number of goals, including consistently having our men’s basketball program compete at the highest level while also showcasing our University on a national stage.”


“This is an exciting time for our program,” said head men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley. “We appreciate the extreme generosity of Tom and Cathy Ryan and all the supporters who have contributed to the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund. We are committed to building a championship program. Together we continue to elevate the status of men’s basketball at Rhode Island, which we couldn’t do without our loyal supporters.”


The success of the men’s basketball program is critically important to both the Department of Athletics and the University of Rhode Island community as a whole. From significant increases in external revenue sources, to maximizing national exposure for the institution, winning is a measurable commodity. With the completion of the challenge, more than $2.5 million has been raised for the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund in order to elevate the operating budget of the program to the top tier of Atlantic 10 Conference. The fund will make a significant impact on the men’s basketball program at URI by enhancing funding in specific areas of need identified by the coaching staff. This includes recruiting and developing outstanding young men and providing them with the highest level of student-athlete experience, retaining successful coaches, and operating at the level of a consistently competitive national-caliber program.


“The University of Rhode Island has extraordinary coaches and leaders in place, fostering the teamwork that drives success,” Ryan said. “By providing the resources that match or exceed those of our competitors, and by challenging our student-athletes to improve every day, we will see a continuation of the excellence and upward trajectory that characterize the University and its men’s basketball program.”


“We are grateful to our alumni for continually stepping up to enhance the competitiveness of our University on every level, including athletics. Tom Ryan is an incredibly committed alum and we are grateful for his leadership and support as we work to build the most successful program possible,” said Lil Breul O’Rourke, president of the URI Foundation.


To contribute to or learn more about the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund please contact:


Garrett Waller – Associate Athletic Director

(401) 874-5287 | gwaller@uri.edu


John May – Assistant Director of Development

(401) 874-2389 | johnmay@uri.edu