As longtime supporters of TROY Athletics, Marty and Jackie Gilley generously gifted $25,000 to Troy University for the TROY Athletics Leadership Society, hoping that the funds could one day help a student-athlete in need.
As a former TROY football player and athletic scholarship recipient himself, Marty knows how instrumental donations like these can be to student athletes making their way through school. A donation to the TROY Athletics Leadership Society will provide impactful resources for the benefit of TROY Athletics.
“We are very appreciative of this gift from Jackie and Marty Gilley,” said Brent Jones, Senior Vice Chancellor for Athletics. “Jackie and Marty have always been great supporters of Trojan Athletics, and this gift is just another show of their support and passion for our athletic program. Marty was a great student athlete himself. We are grateful for the support that he and Jackie continue to give to our programs.”
From 1983 to 1987, Marty had the opportunity to play football for the Trojans and participate in the 1984 NCAA Division II Football National Championship.
“Being a part of the ’84 team was truly a great experience,” he said. “For me, it was the first time getting into the playoffs, going to a championship and winning it.”
Marty’s tuition was covered by a scholarship, as was that of his daughter, Ginny Ann Penton. Marty says he can’t think of a better use for the money they ultimately saved than to give back so that other students can have similar scholarship opportunities.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in business marketing, Marty was able to transition seamlessly into working professionally in his family business, Gilley’s Heating and Cooling.
“I’d worked for the business my whole life, but after getting my degree, I was able to better understand the advertising and promotional aspects of the company,” he says. “My degree gave me the opportunity and the ideas to make some changes and updates in how we were operating.”
The Gilleys agree that giving back to TROY is their way of lending a hand in helping the University grow. It also provides them the pathway to reach out and support students that otherwise might not have the opportunity to go to college.
“There are a lot of students that have the intelligence and the talent to go on to college, but they don’t have the resources,” he said.
Whenever possible, Marty encourages fellow alumni to support their alma mater, and he hopes through this giving that they can continue to see TROY grow.
“That’s the biggest reason I give back to TROY. They gave to me, and I want to always give back to them,” he said. “I hope that TROY can keep its focus on supporting the students who truly want to give their all to TROY.”
“It was a true pleasure working with Jackie and Marty Gilley on their Athletic Leadership Society gift,” said Gary Wilbert, Associate Athletic Director of Development. “Jackie and Marty love TROY Athletics and want to see the programs prosper, and that is what the Athletic Leadership Society is all about, so it was a great match for their interest. I applaud their generosity and commitment to the University and Trojan Athletics.”
From one Trojan athlete to another, Marty urges all student athletes to take advantage of the opportunities they are given at TROY. He notes that every situation is an opportunity to learn and get better, and you can’t just sit around waiting for instant gratification.
“If you get the opportunity, take advantage of it. Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter; you have to work for it. The more you work for it, the more you’ll appreciate it,” he said.