Springfield basketball court named for game's inventor
Springfield College recently honored one of the most renowned of its alumni and a former faculty member when it dedicated its refurbished basketball surface in Blake Arena as James Naismith Court.
Because work was underway on the surface last June when the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel gave final approval to moving the three-point line further out, the court also may have the distinction of being the first collegiate basketball facility to display the 20-foot, 9-inch circle that will be used beginning with the 2008-09 season.
Naismith created the game in 1891 while a graduate student and teacher at the International YMCA Training School, which later became Springfield College. He remained at the college through the 1893-94 academic year.
"In honoring James Naismith, we also honor important values that guided him as an innovator, educator, physician and minister," said Springfield President Richard B. Flynn about the court's dedication and renaming for Naismith.
"James Naismith believed strongly that a balanced development of one's spirit, mind and body is the foundation of a fully realized life and the ability to contribute to the well-being of other people. We call that philosophy humanics, and it has guided all aspects of the Springfield College education for more than a century."
Members of the Naismith family -- including Rachel Naismith, who married a great-grandson of James Naismith and currently is an associate director of the college's library -- attended the dedication ceremony.
Her sons, Evan and Ben, are considering attending the college and also were present for the dedication, where they and other family members viewed a display of Naismith memorabilia with Flynn.
"They really like this school," their mother told the Springfield Republican during the visit. "There's a connection here, to anyone who's a Naismith."
Ian Naismith, a grandson of the game's founder, also was present with his collection of basketball memorabilia, including the original rules of the game as they were typed and annotated in blue pen by his grandfather.
"Dick Flynn understood the importance of making sure the legacy is not forgotten," he told the Republican, reacting to the college's decision to name the court for Naismith.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association