Matthew Knight And Phil Knight
Phil Knight is the founder and head of Nike, Inc., the best athletic gear company in the world. A legend in the retail and marketing worlds, Knight revolutionized the sports business in the 1970s. Knight has turned into something of a mainstream hero, the subject of admiring articles in popular magazines. Nike’s success made him one of America’s richest men.
Phil and Penny Knight parented three children, two sons, Matthew and Travis and a daughter named Christina. Matthew Knight, their eldest son passed away on May 23, 2004. He was only 34. Matthew graduated from Hillsboro High School. Although he worked in a few posts at Nike, he did not pursue a corporate career with the Beaverton-based athletic shoe company, his father co-founded with former University of Oregon track coach, Bill Bowerman. Matthew had been working with a non-profit charity that built orphanages. He traveled to the Central American country a few times each year for the organization. He died in San Salvador, where he was on a visit to shoot footage for a video to be used for fund-raising purposes for Mi Casa Su Casa, an orphanage with Oregon ties. It is believed that he drowned during recreationally diving in Lake Ilopango. Matthew lived with his family in Sherwood. He was survived by his wife, Angie, and their two sons, Logan and Dylan, aged 3 years and 6 months respectively.
Matthew may not have been an extraordinary achiever like his father but he had certainly carved a real niche in charity work in the last years of his life. Father and son had the usual disagreements. Matthew liked to rebel, did not care much for authority and had a knack for tweaking his father. If he rooted for Georgetown, Matthew would prefer Connecticut. When Knight backed Duke, his son sided with North Carolina. However, father and son shared at least one passion, their love for Oregon sports. In the last five years of his life, Matthew went to more Oregon games than even Phil Knight himself.
It is in his honor, that the 12,500 seat arena at the University of Oregon has been named Matthew Knight Arena. The UO President Dave Frohnmayer and Knight made this announcement on 13 December 2008 at a news conference held at the Rose Garden in Portland prior to the start of the Pape¢ Jam, a basketball event featuring the University of Oregon’s men’s and women’s teams. Phil and Penny Knight had been longtime, generous supporters of the University of Oregon. The also gifted the cornerstone worth 100 million dollars to the Oregon Athletics’ Legacy Fund. Taking into consideration the generous contribution of the Knights, Frohnmayer found Matthew Knight as the ideal option for the arena’s name. It was announced that the arena, which would be located at 13th Avenue and Franklin Boulevard in Eugene, is scheduled to be opened by the start of the Pacific-10 Conference basketball season in 2011.
The Matthew Knight Arena aims to feature several elements of Mac Court and reproduce its intensity and intimacy. It has been planned to allocate almost 2,000 seats, including nearly 1,000 in the lower level of the arena to students. In addition, the pitch of the seating, while not quite as vertical as Mac Court is significantly steeper than virtually any other arena in the country. Emphasizes had been laid on structuring the court in such a way that full-court visibility would be good from all seats in the arena, regardless of level or seating category.
The Matthew Knight Arena, together with the first-rate football stadium, new baseball park and world-class track and field facility, certainly provides a solid foundation to position Oregon Athletics for the future and with this arena stays alive the memory of Matthew Knight in the hearts of many.
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