The independent voice of Notre Dame Athletics

  • How Sweet It Is

    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.


    View from Outside

    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.

    Main Floor

    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.

    Entrance Behind Reception

    Strength and Conditioning


    Upper Level

    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.


    Lower Level

    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.

    17 Responses to “How Sweet It Is”

    1. Nice, very glad that is getting done.

    2. Finally! Irish need to compete with the big boys of the ACC! Brey really deserves this he has proven the IRISH can play with and beat anybody!! This facility should bring them 1 or 2 Mcdonalds all americans! every year instead of none! MIKE BREY deserves this for the job he does!

    3. This is great news but sadly, far too late. I am an alumni and never understand why Notre Dame accumulates so much money just to have it. We have an endowment of $7billion dollars (as of 2015 so I am sure it’s higher now) and we can’t reward a program that has consistently maxed out its potential? It is amazing that Brey has stuck with us so long as he is already underpaid and has many other options. My theory is the university doesn’t want Notre Dame to become a basketball school so it is slow to deliver resources to the program. The reality is (and has been for probably 2 decades) it is much, much easier for a school with high academic standards to compete in basketball than football simply due to numbers. In basketball, if you have a few good players, you can compete, in football you need an army. Let’s just embrace it- we have arguably to best coach in college basketball so let’s give him what he needs to do even better. I celebrate this step, just sad it is happening so late. Hopefully it is the first of a major commitment to rewarding the players, coaches, and program for such outstanding performances.

      • It is hard to believe that a Notre Dame grad does not understand what the purpose of the endowment would be. It is NOT to accumulate as much money as possible “just to have it”. Perhaps the article from last October in The Observer will be helpful for you to understand. Also the portion from the University website.

        • Joe R-

          I fully understand what an endowment is—Notre Dame simply doesn’t spend resources the way other colleges and universities with similar wealth do. Great example, the financial assistance to students is absolutely pitiful- ND has done absolutely nothing to keep costs or debt down for most undergrads. Contrary to common belief, not all ND students come from wealthy backgrounds- compare the amount of financial assistance we provide versus schools like Harvard and Yale (which also have .

          But we can argue about that all day long- the issue here is: Is it really acceptable that in 2017, the basketball program doesn’t have a legitimate practice facility? There is honestly no plausible excuse for that given the program’s success and the university’s resources. This is another example of simply foolish behavior on the part of the university. I can speak for most alumni by saying we love the sports teams and the school, but are once again disappointed by the severe lack of leadership on the part of administration.

    4. What about matter energy transport to go from RSC to JACC and back again.

    5. Just where is the Rolf’s Student Center in relation to the JACC?

    6. This is wonderful news!!! Long, Long overdue.

      It is amazing that we have done as well as we have with sub-standard facilities…Go Irish!!!!!!!!!

    7. Irishguard78 says:

      I can only guess that the Rolfs family finally acquiesced. I’m not going to say much more other than God bless the Rolfs family. This was a terribly awkward situation when MD first announced it.

    8. Bill DiPiero says:

      I can’t wait to tour this thing when it’s done! Names like Carr and Dantley,
      Tripuka and Ellis and Kurtz, Connaughton, Grant, DJ, Colson, Vasturia and Farrell,etc will be displayed like the great sportsmen of old at ND! Could this be the future lead sport at ND some day? I know the concept may seem blasphemous but after one evening of watching the movie Concussion, you cant help but think football will never be the same or have the same aura it once did. And after watching one weekend of March Madness 2017, how can you not think that college basketball is ready to eclipse college football as the number one sport in America. And so, it’s not only ‘about damn time’ to be erecting a state of the art basketball practice facility, it’s forward thinking and a recognition that a transition is in progress.

    9. Mike Rottman says:

      Is this intended to be for the men’s team only or for both men’s and women’s basketball? All of the information above only relates to the men’s team. I’m all for supporting ND basketball, but both teams should be supported.

    10. Mark Shepard says:

      Are there still plans to build student basketball courts in the North Dome of the ACC? There was discussion that a single court in the Crossroad student center would be inadequate.