More than five years after leaving the UA for an NFL career, Earl Mitchell returns to campus...
UA Alum Louis 'Buzz' Sands Commits $10M to Arizona Athletics
The gift, from a UA alumnus, will help build celebration and community for football fans.
Known as “Buzz” to his friends, Louis Sands IV jokingly says the University of Arizona was the only university that would accept him. But in fact, attending the UA was a family tradition. His uncle and older sister are both alumni, as is his father, who lettered in polo in the 1930s.
As a student, Sands became a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, where he made lifelong friends. He graduated with a degree in business administration in 1963, served in the United States Army Reserve, and worked in the family car sales business, Sands Chevrolet, in Glendale. Ariz. Over the years, he’s remained engaged with Arizona Athletics and travels to away games with other Wildcat Club members.
Today he has increased his level of support. His recent $10 million commitment to the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility is a significant investment in the football program and the infrastructure of the entire Arizona Wildcat Athletics program. Sands’ generous cash contribution of $2 million and an $8 million testamentary commitment through his estate will provide a premier gameday experience in the Sands Club. Named in Sands’ honor, the club will serve as a prominent gathering space for fans who purchase Club Boxes, Premium Club seats and Club seats in the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility. It will also pay tribute to Sands’ fraternity brothers, who throughout the years have also been UA student athletes.
Sands’ friends describe him as a generous man who “loves life” and “enjoys the environment around athletics.” He is dedicated to his family and business, and is an avid art collector.
“He has given back to the state of Arizona, his community and the University,” says Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne. “This gift means Arizona can build a top-tier football program and fan experience, competitive with our peers in the PAC-12. Equally important, it underscores the value of building community.”
“Buzz is a quiet leader with a huge heart,” added James H. Moore, Jr., president and CEO of the UA Foundation. “He is also a dedicated Wildcat who cares deeply about his alma mater and the entire University of Arizona family.”
“Business has been good to me,” Sands said about his philanthropy and why he chose to support the football facility. “I appreciate the energy of athletics. I’ve met a number of individuals who support the school financially and they’re top-quality people. If you surround yourself with good people, it makes life more amenable.”
Built in 1929, Arizona Stadium last saw extensive renovation 23 years ago when the skyboxes and media center were added to the west side. As it exists today, Arizona Stadium is incapable of housing offices, strength and conditioning resources, a permanent locker room or other team amenities, such as meeting rooms. The net effect of aging facilities means a weaker program – hurting student-athlete recruitment, revenue and, ultimately, the fan experience.
But a number of generous donors, in addition to Sands, have already stepped up to support the stadium’s modernization, including lead donors Jeff and Sharon Stevens and David and Edith Lowell, for whom the new facility is named.
Arizona Athletics is funded primarily through self-generated revenue. The majority comes from charitable gifts, ticket sales, sponsorships and television revenue. Revenue from all sources is invested in scholarships, facilities, equipment, team travel and other support services that ensure athletes are successful on the field and in college.
“The Lowell-Stevens Football Facility will be a game changer and we are extremely thankful to Buzz for his contributions as a donor and fan,” added Byrne. “The success of the football program translates into increased revenue and support for all 19 varsity sports and approximately 500 dedicated UA student-athletes.”