Margaret Stran and Brent Hardin got a surprise when the name of the University of Alabama’s adapted athletics facility was revealed Friday.
According to a school news release, the two figured the facility would be named for Mike and Kathy Mouron who had launched the project with two gifts totaling $4 million.
Instead, when the rendering of the facility was shown, the name “Stran-Hardin Arena” was above the main entrance to the facility.
The report says Stran gasped and began crying. Hardin did his best to hold back tears.
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“It’s truly overwhelming,” Stran said in the report.
Hardin said the honor made for the most “humbling day of his life.”
Stand and Hardin are pioneers of Alabama’s adapted athletics program.
The report says the $10 million Stran-Hardin Arena will be a premiere game venue and training facility. The facility should be completed in December.
The two-story facility, located next to the University of Alabama Rec Center, will include a NCAA regulation game venue for wheelchair basketball, locker rooms, workout/training room, strength and conditioning room, team meeting rooms and study halls.
The reports says the University of Alabama Adapted Athletics Program began in 2003 with women’s wheelchair basketball. The program has since grown to include 30 student-athletes in women’s basketball, men’s basketball, wheelchair tennis, para-rowing and adapted golf.
University of Alabama is home to five national championships in women’s wheelchair basketball (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2017) and one in men’s wheelchair basketball (2015). Wheelchair tennis has won three national championships (2013, 2015, 2017).
Stran is a two-time Paralympics medalist and former coach for Team USA. Both she and Hardin coached UA to multiple national championships in wheelchair basketball. Additionally, more than 100 students participate in the University of Alabama’s non-competitive adapted sports.