New West Virginia State University Athletic Court Named for Lester Raines


Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
Aug. 28, 2013
New West Virginia State University Athletic Court Named for Lester Raines

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – When the West Virginia State University (WVSU) Yellow Jackets begin play in their newly renovated surroundings in 2014 the court where the basketball and volleyball teams will seek their first Mountain East Conference titles will be named for long-time Kanawha Valley athletic booster Lester Raines.

“I like the enthusiasm, the excitement and the energy taking place on the campus of West Virginia State, and I wanted to be part of that,” said Raines, who made a significant financial contribution in support of the renovated and expanded athletic building in Institute. “I love basketball, and I am so impressed by the new facility being built there. It is world class.”

Fleming Hall has been undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion project over the past year. When it opens in February 2014, the new Convocation Center will feature a 1,300-seat arena for men’s and women’s basketball games, women’s volleyball games and other large school functions. The arena floor will be named in Raines’ honor.

“On behalf of the University, I would like to express our sincere and lasting gratitude to Lester for his selfless contribution,” said WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. “As a successful businessman, Lester has a strong connection to our local community. Furthermore, he has developed a special relationship with the University and will forever remain a proud member of the State family.  His contribution will significantly impact our student athletes and provide a greater student experience for current and future generations of Yellow Jackets.”

Raines’ involvement in local sports spans nearly 20 years. Since the 2011-2012 basketball season, he has been an assistant basketball coach at WVSU. Prior to that, he spent 14 years as an assistant to coaches Jason Gee and Greg White at the University of Charleston.

“I didn’t go to school at West Virginia State, but I have always been involved in sports, including as a sponsor of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball tournament for several years,” Raines said. “Life has been good to me and put me in a position where I can do good things, and when you are in a position to do good things to support young people and athletes, it makes me feel good to do it.”

A lifelong resident of the Kanawha Valley, Raines graduated from the former Charleston High School in 1973 and from the West Virginia University School of Dentistry in 1981.

He is the owner of Lester Raines Honda-Mazda in South Charleston.
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
- WVSU -
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