by Mike Coffey
It took longer than I thought to come up with a title for this article … an article I’ve waited a very very long time to write. Hell Yes seemed too trite. About Damn Time too crotchety. Happy in Pants? Too unprofessional. So I settled on Jackie Gleason’s favorite, because it seems the most fitting.
If you’ve been reading NDN for a while (especially if you’ve been around since the Notes from the Geetar days), the subject of quality practice and training facilities for Notre Dame‘s basketball program has been a bit of a sore spot with me. Watching Irish coaches trying to convince blue-chip talent to play in South Bend while having to explain away YMCA-level training digs has, if nothing else, kept my cardiologist in expensive cars.
It got to a point where I became quite a cynic. I spent 17 years waiting for a succession of three athletic directors to make good on their promises to give the program the support it deserves. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” became my mantra. Show me some blueprints or fundraising materials, I decided, and I’d become a true believer again.
Well, True Believer Day is here, my friends. One of our NDN readers was given exactly what I was hoping for, and he was kind enough to share it with me. Not the full “ask book”, but certainly more than enough to whet my appetite.
Enough of the prattle — let’s get down to it. Clicking each image will take you to the full-size version.
As previously reported, the facility will occupy the current Rolfs Student Center. The rendering from the book labels the building the Rolfs Basketball Center, so it’s possible the family retained the name on the building as part of the re-purposing.
RSC contains up to 77k square feet of space. There aren’t any specifics in the book regarding sizing, but even if 60k of the space was utilized, the RBC would be among the larger facilities in college basketball right now. For comparison purposes, Duke’s Coach K center is 56k square feet, IU’s Cook Hall 67k, Louisville’s YUM center 60k. I couldn’t find a specific number on UCLA’s Mo Austin Center, but the renderings look pretty close. Kentucky’s 100k behemoth remains bigger, but like so many other things about Kentucky, that’s not something I’d want.
As one walks in, the area immediately behind the reception and lobby area will be a “Hall of Fame”, connecting the current players to those of the past. To the left is a shared lounge and the strength and conditioning area; to the right, the film review rooms and coaches’ lounges.
This is the domain of the coaches, with men on the left and women on the right. Each head coach has a full office with bathroom, with offices for each assistant, the managers, video crews, and operations. Each team has it’s own full conference room.
Ah, here’s where the rubber meets the road.
Once again, men on the left, women on the right. Each program has its own full practice court, along with three half-court shooting areas. And not an embedded post to be seen.
Each team with its own locker room and lounge.
In the middle, the Sports Medicine area, where the trainers can keep the players as injury-free as possible.
Overall, I’m very impressed. This is the kind of thing I had in mind from day one. Granted, a direct physical connection to the Joyce Center would have been the cherry on the sundae, but this is more than enough. If this is what the basketball programs are getting come the 2018-19 season, color me satisfied.
Now let’s get it built.