INDIANA, Pa.—Indiana University of Pennsylvania broke ground for the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex and celebrated a $1 million gift to name the 5,000-seat KCAC arena the Ed Fry Arena during ceremonies Thursday, November 13.
Chad Hurley, a 1999 IUP graduate, made the gift in honor of Fry, his former track and field coach. Fry, a member of the IUP department of music faculty, recruited Hurley to attend IUP and participate in the track and field program.
Hurley was a member of the track and cross country teams all four years he attended IUP.
“Coach Fry has dedicated over 40 years to his students and athletes of IUP,” Hurley said. “His teaching and coaching has challenged, touched, and inspired countless individuals over this time. So it's only fitting in his last year of coaching that the school is recognizing his hard work and dedication to the university by naming this arena after him: the Ed Fry Arena.
“I would like to challenge the alumni, the students, the community to donate and support this project, to help us build a stronger tomorrow for IUP and the entire region.”
“A new day is dawning in Indiana County, and the symbol of that new day is the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex,” IUP President Dr. Tony Atwater said during the ceremony.
“While some view the KCAC as just another university building for entertaining major events, others see the project’s true significance and import. The KCAC that will be the engine, the missing link, and the catalyst for economic and cultural revitalization in the Indiana region and beyond.
“Gifts like those from Mr. Chad Hurley reflect not only a recognition of the impact of IUP and its faculty on the lives of our graduates, but a commitment from our alumni to this university’s continued growth and prominence.
“We are on the cusp of tremendously positive developments for our region as a result of the KCAC. However, there is much work ahead of us as we undertake construction and full financing of this exciting capital project. IUP will need help from many sectors to complete this important initiative, and to complete it in good order. Let this groundbreaking ceremony also symbolize the resolve of our community to assist IUP as the region’s steward and ambassador in getting this job done.”
Hurley is one of the founders of YouTube, the video-sharing website launched in late 2005. In 2006, Hurley and his partner sold the website to Google for $1.76 billion. Hurley continues to serve as YouTube's chief executive officer. Originally of Birdsboro, Berks County, he now lives in Menlo Park, Calif. He is a 2007 IUP Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.
The KCAC, to be completed in 2011, is projected to have a $22 million economic impact on the region during construction and an annual economic impact of $12.5 million in each year of operation.
The Horizon Team, a group representing Horizon Properties Group LLC and Summit Development Consulting Corp., was selected in July to build an adjoining hotel to the KCAC.
The hotel will be completed by March 2011 and will be owned by the Foundation for IUP, a nonprofit organization. Officials project that the hotel will generate $211 million in economic impact for the region in the first decade of its operation. A groundbreaking ceremony for the hotel is in the planning stages.
The KCAC is named in honor of the Kovalchick family, of Indiana, who donated $2 million for the facility’s construction.
Joseph Kovalchick was one of the speakers for the event. He was joined by Atwater; David Osikowicz, chairman of IUP’s Council of Trustees; Indiana County Commissioner Rod Ruddock; Joe Pittman, representing Sen. Don White; Col. John Hugya, representing Rep. John Murtha; Dan Prushnok, president of the IUP Foundation board of directors; and Hurley.
Fry has the longest tenure of any active head coach at IUP. He is completing his 43rd season coaching men’s cross country and track and field. He has coached women’s track and field for 30 years and women’s cross country for 29 years. He has been the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year four times.
A runner himself, Fry finished with a personal best placement of 17th in the New York Marathon. He set an American age group record in the 10-mile run, outperforming competitors from 33 countries to win the Submasters Olympic 10,000 meter race in Toronto in 1975.