It was a large gift from a man with a big heart.
John Mulligan, a booster of Monsignor Scanlan High School’s five basketball teams, has graciously donated $20,000 to his alma mater to purchase new state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line bleachers for the Gallagher Gym.
Mulligan has been a fano of the school’s basketball teams since he was a student there, graduating in 1969 when it was called St. Helena’s.
He said he still fondly recalls attending a b-ball game in December 1967, when Helena defeated a powerhouse team from Powell Memorial Academy that included future NBA player Len Elmore in an upset victory.
He was reconnected with the school when he returned to the school’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1999. Since then, he has attended basketball games zealously at the school, and said that he thought the addition of the bleachers might drum up interest in Scanlan’s sports programs.
“I think by adding the bleachers with more adequate seating, young people may be more inclined to come to a basketball game, and maybe bring a friend and be impressed,” he said.
The bleachers was originally budgeted by Scanlan’s board of directors, but had to be cut because of other pressing needs, he said. So Mulligan decided to donate the $20,000 for new bleachers.
Mulligan received a big thank you from the school community during an on-the-court ceremony at a double-header basketball game between the Scanlan and Xavier on Saturday, Feb. 8. Scanlan’s Junior Varsity team fell to Xavier 67 to 60, but their Varsity team defeated Xavier 93 to 73.
The bleachers were installed last fall, just in time for Scanlan’s basketball season, said Karen Gennarelli, the schools director of development. She added that Mulligan’s gift was a big donation in terms of what Scanlan usually sees.
“It serves a great purpose to us,” she said. “We can fit people in our gym comfortably. We have great teams, and we should have a gym that reflects that.”
The bleachers also will be used for watching a variety of sports, including volleyball. The steel bleachers complement older wooden bleachers already in the gym, she said.
“It is not only where we have our gym classes, but it also serves as our auditorium,” said Gennarelli.
“If there is a pep rally, the bleachers are used. If students come back from an alumni event, the bleachers are open. The gift has many purposes.”