Harvard Athletics has announced the renaming of its men’s basketball locker room for Head Coach Tommy Amaker. The first-of-its-kind honor, effective upon Amaker’s future retirement, was made possible by a generous donation from the Shutzer family as part of the recent Lavietes Pavilion renovation.
“The locker room is one of the more sacred and meaningful spaces for a team,” said Amaker, the Thomas G. Stemberg ’71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard Men’s Basketball. “It is more than an honor to know that the values and teachings we’ve prioritized in our program around leadership, teamwork, service, and justice will be a part of the Harvard Men’s Basketball Program for years to come — both on the court and beyond the 94 by 50.”
Amaker is the first Black coach in Harvard history — and in the Ivy League — to inspire such a naming gift. When he arrived at Harvard in 2007, he was the only Black head coach across 41 varsity teams. Amaker went on to become the program’s all-time winningest coach, and in 2018, became the second-fastest coach in Ivy League history to reach 200 wins.
Bill Shutzer ’69, M.B.A. ’72 and his wife, Fay, are loyal Crimson fans who are pleased to commemorate this unparalleled tenure. “The success of the Harvard basketball program over the last 17 years, together with the new Lavietes Pavilion, has brought the Harvard community together in a way I’ve never seen before,” Shutzer said.
During his time at Harvard, Amaker has demonstrated a commitment to developing his players into strong leaders and compassionate young men as well as champions. He regularly incorporates educational and cultural experiences into team travel.
Meanwhile, Amaker has fostered deep connections off the court, co-founding with the late Harvard Law Professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. ’78 a roundtable of Black campus and community leaders called The Breakfast Club, which has attracted high-profile speakers such as former President Barack Obama, J.D. ’91, and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Amaker also served as a special sssistant to Harvard Presidents Drew Faust and Larry Bacow and held leadership positions at the Harvard Business and Kennedy Schools.
Erin McDermott, the John D. Nichols ’53 Family Director of Athletics, expressed her gratitude to the Shutzers for their support. “Their gift has enhanced our team’s experience and will indelibly honor Coach Amaker as a true educator and impactful coach,” she said.
The renaming will take place upon Amaker’s retirement, still a far-off prospect as he prepares for his 17th season with the Crimson. Harvard men’s basketball will tip-off the 2023-24 regular season against UMass Boston on Nov. 6.