Father honors late son with gift to Final Four city

By Lindsay Deutsch USA Today

A student uses the newly refurbished Exline Recreation Center in South Dallas. Photo: WFAA

A student uses the newly refurbished Exline Recreation Center in South Dallas. Photo: WFAA

Victor Ugolyn who lost his son on September 11, 2001, helps others in his memory. Ugolyn teams up with the NCAA to donate a special gift to the Men’s Final Four host city.

“I just love playing the game.”

That was Tyler Ugolyn’s favorite phrase, one he used while playing basketball at Columbia University and running a weekly basketball camp for kids from Harlem.Ugolyn died at the World Trade Center on 9/11, but his memory — and mantra — live on in the form of refurbished basketball courts in inner cities donated by the NCAA and a foundation run by Tyler’s father, Victor Ugolyn.

For the past seven years, Victor Ugolyn has worked with the NCAA to renovate courts in cities that host the NCAA men’s Final Four. On Tuesday, Dallas city leaders joined him in unveiling the refurbished Exline Recreation Center in South Dallas, opening its newly painted doors to elated youth in the community.

“Our son gave back to the community, and it’s something I know he would want us to continue doing on his behalf,” Ugolyn said to WFAA. “If he was still here today, he’d be doing what we’re doing.”

Dallas City Council member Carolyn Davis had a message for the late Tyler Ugolyn: “You’re doing the right thing. I don’t know you, but I love you, and I will always remember you for what you’ve done to this community.”

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