University of Idaho track to be resurfaced in Lauren McCluskey’s honor

Construction should start around May; same track surface used in Summer Olympics



Matt and Jill McCluskey donated $1 million to University of Idaho in honor of their daughter.

CALLIE GERBER, Evergreen reporter

Matt and Jill McCluskey donated $1 million to University of Idaho allowing for the Kibbie Dome track to be resurfaced in honor of their daughter, Lauren McCluskey.

Lauren was on the University of Utah track and field team when she was murdered by a man she briefly dated. Both of Lauren’s parents are professors at WSU, and Lauren grew up in Pullman.

The money is coming from an account Matt and Jill created after the settlement of their lawsuit against the University of Utah. The money in that account will be dedicated to charitable activities, Matt said. The money is not coming directly from the Lauren McCluskey Foundation due to a technicality, but this donation is in the spirit of the foundation.

Shortly after her death, Matt and Jill donated to a track scholarship that has Lauren’s name on it, which gives small scholarships to track students. Jill said she wanted to donate more money to University of Idaho when it was possible. The opportunity arose, and University of Idaho said they wanted to resurface the track, Matt said. 

Wall 2 Wall Commercial Flooring is the vendor resurfacing the track. The work on the track will be started after some events such as graduation planned for May. It should be completed by the end of the summer and there will be a grand opening at the beginning of the next indoor track season, UI Athletics Director Terry Gawlik said. 

The current track has lots of wear and tear with spots UI has to pay close attention to. The track also does not pop out at people when they are hosting meets, Gawlik said. 

The new track will have a Mondo Super X surface, which is the same surface used in the summer Olympic Games, she said. The track will have “Lauren McCluskey” written on it with the word “track” underneath in a script font. The “I” Vandal logo will also be on the track.

“The University of Idaho was a second home for Lauren. They were very generous about letting her use the Kibbie Dome track for practice. She met some people over there, and so there was a real close connection,” Matt said.

Lauren never competed for UI, but she always knew she was welcome. 

“I credit the track coaches that allowed her to come over and work out. She just had a great experience over here. To me, that expresses what Idaho is about. Even though you guys are across the border in a different space, we’re still going to be welcoming,” Gawlik said.

When people see the track, Matt said he hopes they will remember how Lauren was a student-athlete. She cared about track, but academics were just as important to her. While at the University of Utah, she was enjoying her communications major, getting high grades and becoming a strong track athlete. Matt hopes there will be some records broken on the Lauren McCluskey track.

In addition to the track, UI will be redoing the tennis court surfaces and improving its lighting, Gawlik said. The tennis court will be funded with money from fundraising, and the university is paying for the lights project.