Kathy Bush: Basketball team to honor former CLAE?associate dean

The Detroit Titans men's basketball team has unveiled a unique tribute to Kathy Bush, a popular UDM administrator and faculty member who died earlier this year.This season, the team will wear a black memorial patch honoring Bush, the former associate dean of liberal arts and education, who died in July.

"She just meant so much to the athletics program, especially men's basketball, for so many years," said Keri Gaither, athletic director. "She really went out of her way to help our basketball players."

Gaither said head coach Ray McCallum proposed the patch. McCallum said he did it because of everything Bush meant to him and the team.

"When I first arrived, she was one of the first professors I met with," he said. ". she just had an unbelievable heart and a love for the university and for the kids in our program. So many of the former athletes said if it wasn't for her, they wouldn't have made it through. She always had time for us. She was just a special lady."

The patch appears on the upper-left side on the front of the jerseys. It is a black circle with the white initials "KB" beneath a white cross.

According to Steve Corder, assistant athletic director for NCAA compliance, teams in the Horizon League have paid similar tribute to former players, but never to faculty members.

Bush came to UDM in 1982. She taught a variety of classes and had an expertise in working with special-population students.

The team also will be honoring Bush by donating proceeds from one of McCallum's roundball luncheons to the Kathy Bush Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The patch will be worn on new uniforms that the athletic department recently purchased from Nike. The uniforms feature tighter, form-fitting jerseys and longer shorts made from lightweight material.

It is a style that Nike introduced to four college teams in 2007. So far, the jerseys are a hit with the players.

"They're nice," said forward Eli Holman. "The guys are all excited to try them on."

Holman said the uniforms represent a "new year, new attitude and new journey."

The coaching staff likes the uniforms, as well.

"They have a nice, clean look, which is what I want in a uniform," coach McCallum said.

The most notable change is on the back of the jerseys, where players' last names now appear above their numbers. McCallum hopes the change doesn't inflate any egos.

"It's still about what's on the front of the jerseys, not the back," he said.

In addition, the Titan dance and cheer teams, as well as the pep band, have received new outfits.

Gaither said the wardrobe changes add excitement and energy to the program.

"The bar has been raised," she said. "We've made significant improvements in so many areas, and with that improvement comes higher expectations.