J. Robert Donnelly Husky Heritage Sports Museum
The sights and sounds of more than a century of intercollegiate athletics competition come alive during a visit to the J. Robert Donnelly Husky Heritage Sports Museum.
Located in the new and expanded UConn Alumni Center in the heart of the University of Connecticut's main campus in Storrs, the Husky Heritage Sports Museum is the ultimate library documenting the wide-ranging successes of Connecticut's athletic programs.
The state-of-the-art design and layout of the 2,700 square foot Husky Heritage Sports Museum, named after benefactor and 1940 Connecticut basketball and football captain J. Robert (Bob) Donnelly (shown at right), vividly captures all of the energy, excitement and enthusiasm that is associated with "Huskymania". Donnelly passed away on Sept. 26, 2005.
The visitors' UConn experience begins with the University of Connecticut "National Champions" Gallery. This unique museum addition, located in the entrance foyer of the Husky Heritage Sports Museum, was unveiled in December of 2004 and will serve as a permanent tribute to all University of Connecticut varsity teams that climbed to the mountaintop and earned the right to be called National Champions.
Currently, a total of 12 national champion squads, representing four different UConn sports, have team photos and national championship logos on display in the National Champions gallery.
Included in the National Champions Gallery is the unbeaten 1948 men's soccer team of Coach John Squires, the 1981 and 1985 UConn women's field hockey teams of Coach Diane Wright, the 1981 men's soccer team of Coach Joe Morrone, the 2000 men's soccer team of Coach Ray Reid, the five national championship women's basketball teams of Coach Geno Auriemma (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004), and the 1999 and 2004 UConn men's basketball teams of Coach Jim Calhoun.
Upon entering the Husky Heritage Sports Museum, visitors are greeted by a full figure statue of Jonathan, the legendary mascot of all Husky athletic teams.
Oversized banners proudly hang from the ceiling, displaying action images that feature 88 of Connecticut's All-American stars representing 17 different intercollegiate sports.
A tour of the various sections of the Husky Heritage Sports Museum is a walk down memory lane for long-time followers of Connecticut athletics. For fans just becoming acquainted with UConn's tradition of excellence, the various themes and areas of the museum, when woven together, narrate a complete and compelling sport-by-sport story line. The growth and development of Connecticut athletics is traced via text, photographs and select artifacts from its humble beginnings in the 1890s to its present day ranking among the elite major college athletic programs in the nation.
Included among the "must see" memorabilia in the Husky Heritage Sports Museum main concourse are the 1981 and 2000 NCAA National Championship Men's Soccer trophies; the 1981 and 1985 NCAA National Championship Women's Field Hockey trophies; the 1950s era baseball gloves belonging to Connecticut's three Dropo brothers-including Walt Dropo's first baseman's mitt when he was the American League Rookie of the Year with the Boston Red Sox in 1950; the 1935 Ramnapping Trophy, awarding annually to the winner of the Connecticut-Rhode Island football game; a 1931 football signed by the entire Connecticut squad; team photos of Connecticut's first men's (1901) and women's (1902) basketball squads; and the Waterford Crystal NCAA National Championship trophies won by UConn Women's Basketball (1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004) and UConn Men's Basketball (1999, 2004).
The pinnacle achievement of UConn's seven NCAA National Championships in both men's and women's basketball is preserved and promoted in a unique circular sanctuary---the Connecticut Basketball Rotunda.
Championship trophies and related artifacts that chronicle UConn's men's and women's national titles are prominently featured in the rotunda, as are life-size cutouts of Husky All-American stars Ray Allen and Rebecca Lobo. Celebratory paintings of head coaches Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma are on display along with a one-of-a-kind watercolor team photo of the 25-member UConn Men's Basketball All-Century team.
Also within the Husky Heritage Sports Museum experience is a six-screen video wall offering behind-the-scenes looks at various UConn Athletics "winning moments" as captured on a variety of Husky highlight films and documentaries.
Each display case of memorabilia and every historical photograph located within the walls of the J. Robert Donnelly Husky Heritage Sports Museum describe a portion of a truly remarkable story.
That story of the teams, the coaches, and student-athletes who have been part of the rich history that constitutes the University of Connecticut athletic experience is now being told on a daily basis at UConn's Husky Heritage Sports Museum.
The J. Robert Donnelly Husky Heritage Sports Museum is open free of charge to the general public during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) of the UConn Alumni Center.
Since the Husky Heritage Sports Museum opened in January of 2002, several important artifacts have been donated from UConn loyalists to help expand the scope of the Connecticut Athletics storyline.
The University of Connecticut Division of Athletics continues to seek additional memorabilia/artifacts to help expand the story of the UConn Huskies. Anyone wishing to donate specific Connecticut Athletics items to the J. Robert Donnelly Husky Heritage Sports Museum should contact:
Associate Director of Athletics/Licensing & Athletic Traditions