DePauw basketball alumni announced last week an initial gift of $410,000 in creation of the William J. Fenlon Endowed Fund for Men’s Basketball Travel. The endowment, named after current Head Coach Bill Fenlon, will go toward funding future international trips for the Men’s basketball team.
“The announcement of the endowment is humbling and to be honest, very overwhelming,” Fenlon said, “Especially since it was created by my former players. That really showed me the loyalty and impact my relationship had with these players.”
Fenlon has been head coach at DePauw for 25 years. Troy and Kerri Noard were the lead activists for starting the Fenlon Fund. Troy was a 1993 DePauw graduate and a member of Fenlon’s first DePauw coached team. “We wanted to do something substantial for the men's basketball program and create a tribute to Coach Fenlon, who has been a great friend and mentor to me,” said Noard. “Kerri and I liked the idea of a permanent endowment to make possible cultural experiences and overseas travel for future student athletes as a lasting legacy to coach. We quickly learned that the fund would be enthusiastically supported by multiple generations of former Tigers and friends of Coach Fenlon.”
One of the toughest parts of playing basketball at DePauw is the season starting in the first semester, encompassing all of Winter Term and ending during the second semester. Because of this, basketball players do not have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or conduct a semester long internship. The Fenlon Fund will give men’s basketball players the ability to partake in an international experience during their time at DePauw.
“Such a high percentage of students at DePauw study abroad at some point during their four years,” Fenlon said. “It’s a sacrifice to play basketball here because you don’t get to experience that since part of the season is in the first and second semesters. I’m excited for the future opportunity of DePauw basketball players to go on these international trips.”
The endowment was announced before the home game against Wooster College last week by former student-athlete Chase Newsom, class of 1995, now a senior vice president at City Securities Corporation in Lafayette. "This is a testament to alumni respect for Coach Fenlon, to the DePauw basketball program, and to the lifelong friendships that began here," Newsom said during the ceremony.
Since the endowment will only pay out a small percentage every year, the team will not be able to schedule an international trip immediately in the next couple of years. With no trip scheduled for the near future, Fenlon isn’t entirely sure he will still be coaching when the program will use the money from this fund.
“Who knows if I’ll still be coaching when they go on the first trip,” Fenlon said. “But this school and program will always mean a lot to me and it’ll be a special time when it does happen.”
Some of the younger players on the team are hoping they will be around when the program goes on the first trip using this fund.
“Honestly this is what makes DePauw so special,” first-year basketball player, Connor Holly said. “I can’t imagine a trip more fun than going overseas to have some cool experiences and play some basketball. Whoever gets to go on one of these trips is lucky.”