(WTNH) — A lifetime of basketball contributions brought Dee Rowe to the Basketball Hall of Fame, a 2017 recipient of the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award.
He probably deserves another award for helping to convinced future Hall of Famers Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma to come to UConn to coach the men’s and women’s teams respectively.
Rowe, who passed away last Sunday at the age of 91, was the ultimate ambassador for the game of basketball and for UConn. He raised money and raised UConn’s footprint in the Northeast.
Everything he did, he seemed to be doing for the right reasons. He was regal, yet down to earth. A rare combination.
“I never felt like he was a celebrity” Mother Shaun Vergauwen said. “I always felt like he was just a wonderful loving man who really came to meet you.”
Mother Shaun was first introduced to Rowe by Calhoun while attending the Final 4. She is the co-foundress of the Franciscan Life Center in Meriden. Calhoun regularly attended the Sports Banquet put on by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. The banquet benefits the Life Center and Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care.
Once he met Mother Shaun, Rowe not only became a regular at the dinner, he would later win the Saint Francis Award and The Jim Calhoun Community Service Award.
“I wish that Dee could become a role model for how you treat people. In our day and age things are not always so nice. Dee really knew how to deal with people. Knew what his place was, knew what he needed to say, when he needed to say it. But his heart was always in the right place. That’s what I most think of.”