Teammates are forever: families, friends gather to celebrate more than locker room renovation

Baylor, Hammond, Brunk families

The late Bob Baylor ’70Jim Hammond ’79 and Joe Brunk ’82 have been immortalized through a unique, lasting creation that will enhance on- and off-court experiences for current and future members of Hanover’s men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs.

The Bob ’70 and Beth Baylor Locker Room Suite has been established to meet the needs of today’s student-athletes in an increasingly competitive recruiting environment. The facilities, located on the first floor of the Horner Health and Recreation Center, were envisioned, designed and furnished during an 18-month, COVID-19-delayed fundraising and production effort. The Hammond-Brunk Men’s Basketball Locker Room is finished and the women’s basketball and volleyball locker room nears completion.

See photos of the locker rooms here.

Baylor, a member of Hanover’s dominant basketball teams in the late 1960s, passed away Oct. 25, 2015, after a lengthy battle with ALS. In 2017, cancer claimed the lives of both Hammond (Jan. 7) and Brunk (April 15). Hammond was a team most valuable player as a senior and scored 1,203 career points. Brunk was a two-time all-American and three-time Hoosier-Buckeye Conference most valuable player.

Beth Baylor, Polly Sallee Hammond ’78 and Helen Brunk, widows of the namesake athletes, were joined by their children, extended families and friends Sept. 24 in the Horner Center to celebrate the project. Through a mixture of laughter, tears and heart-felt appreciation, the Hanoverians, families and former teammates shared memories of their loved ones and days on campus, toured the renovated facilities and rejoiced in the culmination of their efforts.

Photos from the event can be found here.

Eric Ballenger ’81, who watched Baylor play as a child from the front row in Lynn Hall and was later a teammate of both Hammond and Brunk, spoke during the emotion-filled ceremony. As he reminisced about his connections to the former Panthers, he stated, “I had great heroes. I had a great mentor. I had a great friend. If you are lucky enough to have those three, you are set.”

The updated suite is dissimilar from the locker rooms in Woods Gymnasium, Lynn Hall or Long Gymnasium. While paying homage to past teams and traditions, the reconfigured facilities now sport comfortable and functional accommodations, featuring high-tech study and social spaces, and modernized locker rooms. Team members have access to vibrant lounge areas with sofas, chairs, tables, Bluetooth stereo connectivity, video projection systems and wide-screen televisions with broadcast and streaming video capabilities. The locker rooms include individual cubicle-style seating and storage areas with multiple USB ports and outlets, digital security and separate restroom and shower facilities.

“Locker rooms are special places for teammates. Your generosity has created a tremendous space for our teams to really be together,” said Jon Miller ’97, men’s basketball coach, at the Sept. 24 event. “You all have helped to create a place that past players, current players and future players will take a lot of pride in, and the quality of the space also really speaks to the rich history of Hanover’s basketball program.”