Milligan College, Tenn. (Oct. 12, 2009) — Milligan College and the LaPorte Family unveiled the new Citizens Bank Athletic Training Center Monday, Oct. 12, at a dedication ceremony held at Milligan’s Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
The new athletic training center adds more than 1,000 square feet of treatment space for the 300 student-athletes at Milligan. The larger facility allows Milligan to better accommodate the training and treatment needs of its athletes.
“Our new facility is the nicest and most trainer-friendly facility that I have ever had the privilege of working in,” said head trainer Chris McWherter. “Last year, there were more than 1,500 training room visits and 3,000 total treatments. The Citizens Bank Athletic Training Center has enhanced our capabilities to offer athletes the treatment and attention they need to perform at a high level.”
Joe LaPorte III, along with his family, donated funds through the LaPorte Family Foundation for the training center in memory of their father, Joe LaPorte Jr.
LaPorte Jr., or “Papa Joe” as he was often called, was a visionary and banker who cultivated Citizens Bank into what it is today. One of four children of a Sicilian immigrant, LaPorte Jr., grew up in the Carter County community of Stoney Creek. He displayed an enterprising spirit from a young age, carrying a paper route at age 10 and working at a local rayon manufacturing plant while attending Elizabethton High School. He served in the Air Force for two years during World War II and later earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Steed College in 1950.
He began his banking career with Fountain City Bank near Knoxville before joining Citizens Bank as a loan officer in October 1956. In 1962, LaPorte Jr., was named the fourth president of the bank. Under his leadership, Citizens Bank began a period of expansion and growth. LaPorte Jr., passed away in 1988, while still serving as chairman of the Citizens Bank Board. He was posthumously recognized by the Tennessee Bankers Association as a “Leader in Banking Excellence,” and he is honored as a part of a permanent exhibit in the TBA’s office in Nashville.
Today, LaPorte III carries on his father’s legacy, serving as chairman and CEO of Citizens Bank. After 75 faithful years in the Tri-Cities, Citizens Bank continues to grow, with 12 offices in the surrounding area and 150 employees.
“The new Citizens Bank Athletic Training Center is another critical piece in continuing to improve the athletic experience of our dedicated athletes,” said Mark Fox, vice president for student development. “The contribution that these young people and their coaches make to Milligan is tremendous. The fact that Citizens Bank recognized the need and supported its development speaks volumes to their commitment to quality and the community.”
Milligan has a long-standing history of athletic success. The Buffaloes boast 20 intercollegiate sports as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC). In the past 10 years, Milligan has won 50 conference titles and made 57 national tournament appearances.
“Athletics is an important component of the student experience at Milligan,” said President Donald Jeanes. “The athletic training room is something we have wanted to improve for several years. We are grateful to the LaPorte family for their generosity.”