CHICAGO—The Keating Sports Center main court will have a familiar name grace the southwest corner of the floor. The 2020-21 academic year will mark the debut of the”Joe Hakes Court.”
Hakes served as the Illinois Institute of Technology director of athletics from August 2014 until his July 2020 retirement. The honor is tied to Scarlet Hawks basketball alumnus and university trustee John Olin, who asked the school to name the court in Hakes’ honor for his six years of service to the Illinois Tech athletics department.
“I am very honored to have the main court in the Keating Sports Center bear my name,” said Hakes. “It is humbling to have that honor and I appreciate the generosity of Trustee John Olin and Illinois Institute of Technology for recognizing me in this way. I know that for some people, it will give them some enjoyment to trample on my name a little bit every day. I will enjoy that part of the experience.”
Olin graduated from Illinois Tech in 1961 with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering, and went on to get a Ph.D. in engineering from Stanford University. He played on the Illinois Tech varsity basketball team for four years, setting career and single game scoring records. He understands that athletics is a vital component of the collegiate experience because of the teamwork and leadership skills it instills in young people.
He also created and funded a scholarship in Hakes’ honor. The scholarship is for any student who displays the strongest leadership qualities. “Joe Hakes was a great athletic director who made measurable progress in taking Illinois Tech athletics to its next level of excellence,” said Olin. “I encourage other alumni who were student-athletes to contribute to the Joe Hakes Scholarship. Those who are interested may contact John Huebler in the university advancement office.”
Hakes, who spent 40 years in collegiate athletics, guided Illinois Tech to a multitude of changes throughout his six-year tenure at the helm. Perhaps the most notable change being the transition from NAIA to full NCAA Division III membership, a process that began prior to the 2014-15 year until full membership into the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) in 2018-19. Illinois Tech’s varsity program offerings expanded by four under Hakes’ leadership with the addition of men’s volleyball, men’s lacrosse, women’s tennis and men’s tennis.