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Endowment set up for Lobo hoops

San Diego State Aztec Malachi Flynn, center, is defended by UNM Lobos Vante Hendrix, left, and Makuach Maluach, right, during their game in Dreamstyle Arena – the Pit on Jan. 29. The Lobos program figures to benefit from a new endowment announced on Tuesday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

With a kick-start donation from a longtime Lobo athletics donor, the UNM men’s basketball team and the Lobo Club, the athletic department’s fundraising arm, announced the launch of a new endowment for the program.

Details on when the program can use money from the endowment or how, exactly, it is set up are expected to be discussed with media in a teleconference later this week.

For now, what is clear is Brook Watson, CEO and co-founder of locally based ThetaPoint, Inc., longtime donor to multiple UNM sports and member of the Tom L. Popejoy Society (for UNM donors who have given more than $50,000 through the years), donated an initial sum of money to get the ball rolling on an endowment he hopes can someday help the program compete, financially, with Power-5 level programs.

“My goal in establishing this fund is to help the Lobo men’s basketball team become financially competitive to the national landscape in perpetuity,” Watson said in a statement to media sent by UNM.

Endowments for specific sports programs aren’t unusual nationally. One reason the Lobos haven’t had one to this point might be because it will likely have a short-term impact on donations to the 6th Man Club or elsewhere in the department. Some donors may not start giving to an endowment that won’t be able to be used for several years. The 6th Man Club is a sport-specific fund people can donate to now that can be used immediately, but isn’t designed to have the long-term stability an endowment could have.

“Though this will take time, it is potentially one of the greatest days in Lobo basketball history,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said in a news release. “To be able to set up a support system for generations of this special program is an honor and we will do everything we can to propel its success.”

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