Robert Burton, the University of Connecticut booster whose $2.5 million donation kick-started construction of the school's $50 million football complex in 2004, wants his money back and his family's name removed from the building. The Burton Family Football Complex opened in 2006.
In a letter sent to UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway, as well as the school's incoming president and its board of trustees chair, Burton questioned Hathaway's job qualifications and expressed his frustration over the search to fill the Huskies' latest football coaching vacancy. Burton had asked Hathaway in January to keep him in the loop during the search and offered his insight regarding who might make a good fit for UConn. "For someone who has given over $7,000,000 to the football program/university, I do not feel as though these requests were asking for too much," Burton stated in the letter. "Your lack of response on either of these requests tells me you do not respect my point of view or value my opinion."
Burton, a one-time draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers, opposed the hiring of Paul Pasqualoni to replace Randy Edsall, who left UConn for Maryland after leading the Huskies in this year's Fiesta Bowl. Burton's son, Mike, played for Edsall in 1999, while another son, Joe, played for Pasqualoni at Syracuse from 1997 to 2001. "The primary reason Randy took another job was because he could not work with you," Burton wrote to Hathaway. "I assume it will not take your new President long to find out that you also have problems in your working relationships with the basketball coaches and other UConn managers."
On Tuesday, Hathaway announced that roughly $7 million had been raised through silent donations toward the university's proposed basketball practice facility, which is expected to cost between $25 million and $30 million. The building is being planned and designed by Populous, which also handled The Burton Family Football Complex project.