RICHMOND, Ky. – Baptist Health and Eastern Kentucky University announced today the signing of an 11-year naming rights partnership for the arena inside Alumni Coliseum. The agreement provides the university with $2.5 million. Effective immediately, the EKU basketball and volleyball teams will now play on Paul S. McBrayer Court at Baptist Health Arena. "An investment of this magnitude will allow the University to strengthen our student-athlete experience, our Colonel fan experience, but also the service we provide to our community," said EKU President David McFaddin. "Alumni Coliseum is the front door to EKU, welcoming thousands of students, alumni and community members annually. This facility is a staple in Richmond from hosting commencement ceremonies to entertainment events. We are proud to have the Baptist Health name on one of our most iconic EKU spaces. We look forward to seeing what opportunities this partnership will provide." McBrayer Arena has been the home of EKU basketball since the 1963-64 season. EKU volleyball has played in the venue since 1991. The arena currently seats 6,500 fans and was upgraded with a state-of-the-art Daktronics HD video board in 2013 and new floor and lighting in 2014. "As EKU students, family members, faculty and alumni cheer on the Colonels, we hope the Baptist Health logo that graces this arena will continuously remind them that quality healthcare is nearby in this – and many other-- Kentucky markets that offer the Baptist Health brand of care through our hospitals, providers and thousands of other caregivers in the communities we serve," said Aaron Thompson, PhD, Baptist Health board chair, EKU Professor Emeritus and EKU graduate. "We appreciate the opportunity to support not only the health of our communities, but a fine educational institution such as EKU which is preparing the workforce of the future," said Gerard Colman, PhD, Baptist Health CEO. "We have long partnered with EKU to educate and train students for vital and practical roles in their communities, especially for much-needed positions in healthcare." "I could not be more excited and honored with this naming opportunity with EKU. As the president of Baptist Health Richmond, I am beaming with pride that Baptist Health has entered into this long-term partnership as it clearly demonstrates our system's commitment to EKU, our market and to the community of Richmond," said Greg D. Gerard. "This latest partnership speaks volumes about the great things happening at EKU and the communities we serve. This is a wonderful day!" Baptist Health Richmond has a longstanding partnership with EKU, and provides meaningful, real-life experiences for EKU students in a variety of fields, working within the hospital. More than 60 students have been placed at Baptist Health Richmond since January 2022, representing healthcare careers in dietetics, medical lab sciences, PT, health administration, behavioral health and various nursing degree programs. In addition, more than a dozen employees at Baptist Health Richmond are utilizing Baptist's robust tuition reimbursement program to pursue degrees in nursing, administration, psychology and criminal justice. Baptist Health also supports EKU students by hosting clinical rotations and internships, donating skills lab equipment (including patient beds), participating in the "Clinician in the Classroom" projects and providing adjunct faculty. "Eastern Kentucky University and EKU Athletics are fortunate to have a relationship with such an outstanding organization as Baptist Health," said Vice President and Director of Athletics Matt Roan. "Baptist Health is recognized across the Commonwealth and beyond, and together we are committed to leading in excellence and creating a positive difference in the communities we serve. We are incredibly grateful for this partnership and their investment in the future of the Colonels." This is the second corporate naming rights partnership for an EKU athletics facility. The playing surface at Roy Kidd Stadium was renamed CG Bank Field in September.
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is a student-centered, comprehensive regional university dedicated to high-quality instruction, service and scholarship serving approximately 14,000 students. Founded in 1924 in Louisville, Kentucky, Baptist Health is a full-spectrum health system dedicated to improving the health of the communities it serves. The Baptist Health family consists of nine hospitals, employed and independent physicians, and more than 400 points of care, including outpatient facilities, physician practices and services, urgent care clinics, outpatient diagnostic and surgery centers, home care, fitness centers, and occupational medicine and physical therapy clinics. Baptist Health's eight owned hospitals include more than 2,300 licensed beds in Corbin, Elizabethtown, La Grange, Lexington, Louisville, Paducah, Richmond and New Albany, Indiana. Baptist Health also operates the 410-bed Baptist Health Deaconess Madisonville in Madisonville, Kentucky in a joint venture with Deaconess Health System based in Evansville, Indiana. Baptist Health employs more than 23,000 people in Kentucky and surrounding states. Baptist Health's employed provider network, Baptist Health Medical Group, has nearly 1,500 providers, including more than 750 physicians and more than 740 advanced practice clinicians. Baptist Health's physician network also includes more than 2,000 independent physicians.