Winter break recap
On Dec. 20, track and field athlete Lezo Urreiztieta died from complications following brain surgery.
Urreiztieta was a junior hurdler from Tucson; he graduated from Canyon del Oro High School.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Lezo Urreiztieta,” said Fred Harvey, director of men’s and women’s cross country and track and field, in a press release. “He was an important part of our Wildcat family and his passion for life and our sport will be truly missed. “We extend our support and condolences to his family and friends for their loss. Lezo was proud to be a Wildcat.”
Urreiztieta had a promising future, having twice earned all-conference academic honors and placing 10th at the 2012 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships.
Rebecca Marie Sasnett/ Daily Wildcat C.J. Agbannawag, a senior studying sustainable built environments, remembers his friend Lezo Urreiztieta's life during Urreiztieta's vigil in front of the McKale Memorial Center Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. Urreiztieta, UA track and field athlete, died Saturday, Dec.20, 2013.
Urreiztieta wanted to be a plastic surgeon to help people who had been in serious accidents.
“Knowing that I’m working towards something I want to do with my life is really exciting, and I love it,” Urreiztieta said to the Daily Wildcat last January.
Renovations to McKale begin
While the UA is in the midst of raising the money to renovate McKale Center, Arizona debuted a new scoreboard over winter break.
On Dec. 16, the UA announced plans to renovate McKale, starting with a $30 million first phase. The entire project is estimated to cost $80 million.
“McKale is a wonderful feature of our great athletics program,” UA president Ann Weaver Hart said. “I was going to use the word ‘icon,’ but I’m afraid that the frayed edges around McKale are part of iconic reality for all of us, and it is something that has needed an uplift for a long time.”
Tucsonans Cole and Jeannie Davis donated $6 million to the project. A few weeks later, after the men’s basketball team won against Washington, the UA announced a “challenge gift” from an anonymous source who promised to match the money if the UA could raise $8 million.
As of Jan. 4, $1.6 million had been raised toward that challenge. If the UA succeeds, it will have raised $28.6 million toward the $30 million goal. UA athletics director Greg Byrne said he expects to have the money raised by April and begin the rest of the Phase I renovations in May.
Phase I will also add all-new seats, a new floor and expanded restrooms and concessions, to the 40-year-old arena, as well as improved locker rooms.
Lawsuit filed against women’s basketball assistant
On Jan. 3, Deadspin.com reported that Sean LeBeauf, first-year UA women’s basketball assistant coach, is being sued by a former player of his.
Ebonee Tate, who played for LeBeauf at Paris Junior College, filed the complaint against LeBeauf and PJC president Pam Anglin with the U.S. District Court on Dec. 13.
LeBeauf was director of athletics and head coach of the women’s basketball team for four years at Paris before the UA hired him.
Tate played at PJC for one season, 2011-12.
Byrne said in a statement that Arizona has not received any complaints about LeBeauf.
“The department of athletics recently became aware of a lawsuit filed in federal district court in Texas naming Sean LeBeauf, Paris Junior College and other persons associated with Paris Junior College for incidents alleged to have occurred prior to his employment at the University of Arizona,” Byrne said. “The lawsuit does not involve the university and it would be inappropriate for us to comment about the suit. The University of Arizona has received no complaints about Sean LeBeauf and he continues to serve in his capacity as an assistant coach.”
In the complaint, Tate alleges LeBeauf sent “suggestive text messages” and subjected Tate to “persistent, sexually oriented discussions and encounters,” which caused her to lose her scholarship and led to “irreparable mental and emotional distress.”
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