Spalding University Facility Renamed To Honor Muhammad Ali

A Spalding University facility has been renamed to honor a sports legend. The gym — which was previously named Columbia Gym — is located in Louisville, Kentucky. As the story goes, a then 12-year-old Cassius Clay had his bike stolen and vowed to whoop whoever the thief was.

As a result, Clay, who would go on to become legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, learned to box at the gym.

Now, the gym is changing its name while also mounting a red bicycle outside of the front door.

“This is appropriate because Muhammad would come back to the school and keep in touch with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth,” says Tori Murden McClure, Spalding’s president, via NCAA.com. “The connection between Spalding, the Muhammad Ali Center, the Ali family and myself made changing the name of the building the right thing to do.”

The gym is an athletic training room and a fitness center for the Spalding University Golden Eagles men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team. The programs also host home games inside of the facility.

The bike mounted outside of the gym is also a reminder of the Muhammad Ali Scholars program which distributes $1.2 million annually to students.