Thirty years ago, when former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Steve Walsh visited UM as a recruit, he didn’t think too hard about the football facilities.
There was a weight room, a practice field and some meeting rooms. Aside from that, what else was needed?
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Ranking the ACC programs by money spent on their main football building
1. $50 million: North Carolina
The goods: UNC’s Kenan Football Center, opened in 1997, covers 78,000 square feet and houses the coaches’ offices, locker rooms, training room, weight room and players’ lounge. Outside are natural grass and turf fields. There’s also an indoor field.
2. $30 million: Pittsburgh
The goods: The UPMC Sports Performance Complex, opened in 2000, isn’t just a football facility. Aside from a 100,000-square foot rehab center offering on-site medical care and a 35,000-square foot research and training facility, Pitt has two lighted natural grass fields and an indoor FieldTurf practice surface with a three-lane sprint track. Pitt, the only ACC program other than Miami without an on-campus stadium, is happy at Heinz Field, the nearby home of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
3. $26 million: North Carolina State
The goods: At 103,254 square feet, the Murphy Center was billed as the country’s largest football-only facility when it opened in 2003. It is home to the sports medicine and strength and conditioning programs and houses lounge and meeting space and coaches’ offices. In 2015, N.C. State plans to open a $14 million, booster-funded indoor facility that will include a full-length football field, sprint track, jumping pit, remote-controlled video cameras and clerestory windows for natural daylight. In 2016, N.C. State will complete $35 million in renovations to its 65-year-old basketball arena, Reynolds Coliseum.
4. $22 million: Duke
The goods: The Yoh Football Center, opened in Aug. 2002, is 70,000 square feet and has a speed and agility room, weight room, locker room, coaches’ offices, sports medicine center, meeting rooms, a players’ lounge and a memorabilia floor. Duke plans to renovate 84-year-old Wallace Wade Stadium by 2015, including removal of the track that surrounds the field to create a more intimate atmosphere, doubling in size the weight room, and upgrades to several other fields.
5. $21.3 million: Virginia Tech
The goods: The Hokies are fund-raising for a new indoor practice facility which it hopes to complete by August 2015. It will be 120,000 square feet, with 85-foot high ceilings to allow kicking and punting. It will have full sidelines, padded walls and game clocks to allow full scrimmaging indoors, something the Hokies can’t do at its current facility, Rector Field House. Other bells and whistles: remote garage doors to allow the team to shuttle inside and out quickly and observation decks at 20 and 65 feet both indoors and out, the first for coaches to observe from above and the second for the video crew.
6. $21 million: Wake Forest
The goods: Wake will open a new facility, the McCreary Indoor Center, in 2015. Construction will begin in August on a building that houses a 120-yard artificial turf field, with roll-up doors that open onto Wake’s pair of existing practice fields.
7. $15 million: Florida State
The goods: In Aug. 2013, FSU opened a 92,000 square-foot practice facility. It is a full-length indoor field inside a warehouse, adjacent to two outdoor practice fields. In April, FSU rolled out locker room and meeting room upgrades. FSU is making minor repairs to Doak Campbell Stadium this summer and is fund-raising for luxury suite upgrades.
7. $15 million: Miami
The goods: The Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, opened Aug. 2013, includes meeting rooms, academic areas, locker room space and training facilities. In August, UM will practice on its new artificial turf field and upgraded natural grass fields. What’s next: The addition of lights to the practice fields, dining area and four cold-water recovery tubs as part of a $7 million renovation, video boards for the BankUnited Center. An indoor football practice facility is the long-term goal for UM, the only ACC program that lacks one.
9. $13 million: Syracuse
The goods: The Orange will open an indoor practice facility in December. At 102,258 square feet, it will house a full-size football field with lines for lacrosse and soccer, with a ceiling height of 79 feet. Its distinguishing exterior mark is a 337-square foot illuminated “S” logo. The Orange upgraded their weight room, locker room and aesthetics of the Carrier Dome in recent seasons.
9. $13 million: Virginia
The goods: In March 2013, the Cavaliers opened Welsh Indoor Practice Facility, a 78,000 square-foot home to a full-size turf field with a 65-foot ceiling, it features a central viewing platform between the indoor and adjacent, lighted outdoor field. A row of garage-style doors open to the outdoor field, where a 22x13.3-foot video board is viewable.
11. $10 million: Clemson
The goods: The Tigers opened an 80,000 square-foot facility in Jan. 2013 which includes a full-length indoor field with two video boards equal in size to those in Memorial Stadium, two outdoor fields and a weight room that overlooks the field. What’s next: a 60-to-80,000 sq. ft. football operations building and upgrades to Memorial Stadium and revamping of LittleJohn Arena (basketball).
12. $8 million: Louisville
The goods: The Trager Center (90,068 square feet, 65 feet tall in the middle) was opened Dec. 2005 and has full-length FieldTurf field, four-lane sprint track, long jump pit, pole vault area and batting cages. Soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams use it in addition to football. Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, a $75 million stadium opened in 1998, underwent a $75 million renovation in 2009 and now seats 55,000. Last year, U of L spent $3.4 million on a new FieldTurf surface and sound system. Next up: a new $19 million soccer stadium, which opens in August, and a new academic center for athletes.
13. $6-7 million: Georgia Tech
The goods: The Mary and John Brock Football Practice Facility, opened Aug. 2011, is 88,000 square feet (65 feet tall) and has a viewing platform for coaches and recruits, several camera towers inside the facility and six aircraft hangar doors which allow for quick entry and exit.
14. $2 million: Boston College
The goods: In Dec. 1998, BC opened the “The Bubble,” its inflatable practice field covering. It covers 75,000 square feet and is 70 feet high. In use from late November to late March, it has a wind sensor for high-wind stabilization and a snow sensor which raises the bubble’s exterior temperature to melt falling snow. BC’s next projects are new video boards, ribbon boards and sound upgrades in Alumni Stadium.