One of the best kept secrets on campus is that the Student Athlete building holds more than just a Jamba Juice and Legends Grille. The building also hosts a three-floor exhibit of many of the trophies, honors and awards which BYU athletes won through the decades.
Legacy Hall is a museum and Hall of Fame for former and current BYU athletes and displays their accomplishments and contributions to the university athletic program. The exhibit includes 34 glass display cases, 21 wall exhibits and 13 video stations.
“The exihibt shows the demonstrations of great accomplishments of athletes at BYU,” said Trevor Wilson, the Student Athlete Academic Center Director. “It really is inspiring to walk through and makes you feel like part of an institution of individuals that accomplish great things.”
Entering the heavy glass doors to the main lobby gives visitors a sense of the respect and honor these athletes earned during their time as Cougar athletes. A bronzed life-size cougar statue greets people as they enter the building and the atmosphere is one of reverence.
“They keep it so clean, obviously it’s really important and they take good care of it,” said Mattie Ferguson, a BYU Cougarette and frequent visitor to the building. “It’s inspiring walking through there knowing there’s other individuals who want to achieve excellence in all areas of their lives.”
This cougar excellence is displayed throughout the entire museum. The first floor features major national awards and successes and recognition of current athletes. Among the keepsakes are Ty Detmer’s Heisman award from 1990 and Danny Ainge’s Eastman award from the victorious 1980-81 season. Another display case focuses on the recent awards of BYU teams and players, including Jimmer Fredette’s Wooden Award, complete with jersey and photographs.
“The first floor is a combination of some of the greatest accomplishments in BYU history,” Wilson said. “You’ve got Detmer with the Heisman and Jimmer with the Naismith–some of the most significant accomplishments of BYU athletics.”
Against another wall is a display highlighting the various students who left their athletic careers to serve a mission somewhere in the world. A map with white markers points out the places where these athletes have gone and defines the service-minded attitude of some of the athletes who compete at BYU.
The second floor is an interactive exhibit showcasing the biggest and best of BYU athletics. A size 18 shoe from football star Mike Jenkins sits against one wall while the profile of 7’6″ basketball player Shawn Bradley is outlined against another. These huge phenomena stand as contrast next to a painted outline of the shortest BYU athletes, gymnast Haley Love and Lori Johnston at a whopping 4’9″.
“You don’t know what 7’6″ means until you stand next to him,” Wilson said. “I’ve noticed that younger kids in particular are just so drawn to that life-size painting of Shawn Bradley. They just stand there in awe.”
Football and basketball get their rightful highlights on the second floor as well. It shows the Hall of Fame as well as showcases athletes who played for the professionals in their respective sports, including Steve Young and Danny Ainge.
On the final floor, an outline of Y Mountain on the window and a wall display of the fight song and the Cougarettes emphasizes the school spirit of the Cougars.
As a member of the Cougarette squad, Ferguson said she appreciates the recognition of the group in Legacy Hall.
“College sports can be very difficult,” she said. “That display makes me feel very humble for the opportunities I have.”
Legacy Hall represents such opportunities and the decades of accomplishments for Cougar athletes. Countless talented athletes have passed through the school, and Legacy Hall offers a chance for an equal number of interested students to pass through the museum and appreciate the talent of former and current BYU athletes.
“If you want to take a walk through BYU athletic history, just walk through the front doors of Legacy Hall,” Wilson said. “Things will jump out at you, and if you read the infomation, you’ll find some inspiring stories.”