Neville Arena: Auburn Trustees Approve Arena Name Change, Basketball Facility Improvements

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The competition venue for Auburn men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics and volleyball will be known as Neville Arena in recognition of the single largest gift in Auburn Athletics history, Auburn University’s Board of Trustees approved Friday.

A dedication marking the official name change from Auburn Arena to Neville Arena will take place March 4 at the venue, with an on-court recognition March 5 during men’s basketball’s regular season finale vs. South Carolina.

Neville Arena, opened in 2010 with a seating capacity of 9,121, will be named after Bill and Connie Neville, members of the Pat Dye Society, Tigers Unlimited’s highest level of giving.

“We wanted to do something special for men’s basketball because it’s become such another amazing Auburn experience,” Bill said. “The fact that we can benefit so many student-athletes, students and members of the Auburn family was our primary inspiration. We’re honored that Auburn would consider us.”
“It’s a remarkable time for Auburn Basketball,” Connie said. “Coach Pearl has built a wonderful program, bringing excitement and enjoyment to the arena. We are very humbled to be able to make this gift.”

Bill serves on the Tigers Unlimited Foundation Board. The Neville’s previous philanthropic support resulted in the naming of the Bill and Connie Neville Lobby in the east elevator lobby at Jordan-Hare Stadium in honor of the Eufaula, Alabama, natives.

Bill’s father and grandparents graduated from Auburn University. Bill earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University in mathematics, computer science and mathematical sciences, and his MBA from Columbia University.

He founded several technology firms on St. Croix focusing on television news and automation, broadband deployment and sports analytics. 

Connie earned her bachelor’s in education from New York University and a master’s in education from Columbia University. The Nevilles live on St. Croix, where Connie supports a number of charitable causes after teaching in New York, New Jersey and Florida, and working in interior design.

 Their past philanthropic support of Auburn University includes membership in the 1856 Society and support of the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, along with the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

“With their transformational gift, Bill and Connie Neville are investing in the future of Auburn Athletics and Auburn University,” said Director of Athletics Allen Greene. “Motivated by their love of Auburn, Bill and Connie’s philanthropy will directly benefit Auburn student-athletes for generations.

“We thank the Board of Trustees for approving the recommendation to acknowledge the Neville’s profound generosity, as well as approving facilities projects that will further elevate all of the Auburn programs that call Neville Arena home.”

 In addition to the naming of Neville Arena, the Board of Trustees also passed Phase I approval to initiate a project creating an additional basketball practice facility at the arena.

Trustees passed a resolution to construct the new practice gym and renovate existing team support spaces to alleviate overscheduling of the existing practice gym, which is shared by men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball, as well as visiting teams. It will permit Auburn’s men’s and women’s programs to conduct practices at advantageous times and bring their facilities to Southeastern Conference competitive standards.

“Bill knew how much his father loved Auburn and he’s dedicated much of his life to honoring his father,” said Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl. “That’s how I look at this gift. I will always work hard to try to continue to bring championships to Neville Arena.

“This is a commitment to all four of the programs that call Neville Arena home. The fact that our guys will truly have a place they can call home 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the way they train, is very significant and will contribute to our ability to sustain success.”

 Trustees also voted to grant Phase 3 final approval, the funding component, to the women’s basketball renovation project. The board voted on Sept. 10, 2021, to initiate the 4,000-square-foot project, then approved architect selection of the Goodwyn Mills Cawood firm on Nov. 12, 2021.

The renovated women’s basketball locker room and team spaces will facilitate improved student-athlete recovery and development, and more competitive recruiting. The project, estimated to cost $3 million, will be financed by Athletics Department funds.

 “The approval of our women’s basketball locker room renovation shows the continued commitment of Auburn University to helping us rebuild our program,” said women’s basketball coach Johnnie Harris. “Facilities have become a critical part of the recruiting process but is also important to building a team’s brand and culture. We are incredibly thankful for the message that our administration is sending towards our growth and future.”

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