Nov. 10, 2016
By Brad Muller | More Features
South Carolina is in the process of building a new $50 million Football Operations Center as part of the Expanding Our Vision Capital Initiative. The state-of-the-art facility will give the coaches and student-athletes the ability to train and compete at the highest level.
"The Football Operations Center puts us at the forefront of facilities in college football," said South Carolina Head Football Coach Will Muschamp. "We are currently in the bottom half of the SEC in terms of football facilities. The Football Operations Center shows a commitment from the University to future student-athletes, as well as the student-athletes we currently have on campus."
The Football Operations Center received its final state approval on November 7 from the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. The project earlier had been approved by the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees, the Joint Bond Review Committee and the Committee on Higher Education.
The new center eliminates the current fractured alignment of football facilities within the football stadium and elsewhere. The proposed facility will be located adjacent to the Jerri and Steve Spurrier Indoor Football Facility and will feature coaches’ offices, locker room, meeting rooms, weight room, training room, dining room, players’ lounge and equipment room; all in one location.
"For our players, it's a one-stop shop," Muschamp said. "It's going to be just fabulous for us as a staff. Right now, our practice situation is phenomenal. We've got the nicest (indoor facility) I've ever been around and two grass practice fields with plenty of work space outside of that. To get this facility done, I'm really excited."
It all goes back to recruiting... To win the battles on the field, you have to win the battles in recruiting.
“Perception is reality to these recruits,” said Director of Strength and Conditioning for South Carolina Football Jeff Dillman. “I tell them all the time that we’ve got a 12,000 square foot weight room right now, and we’re going to double that size when we have the facility built. It’s going to be beautiful, but it’s not just what it looks like; it’s how you use it. You’ve got to stay on track with all of these other programs around the country because they’re building all of these new facilities. That’s one of the things you hear about from these recruits.”
With hefty demands on the student-athletes' time for athletics as well as academics, the Football Operations Center centralizes all football activities to maximize preparations and allows for a more efficient way for student-athletes and coaches to conduct their daily responsibilities.
"Our in-state rivals are building a brand-new football operations facility," Muschamp said. "It all goes back to recruiting. It's about the bells and whistles that impresses a student-athlete when they come on our campus. To win the battles on the field, you have to win the battles in recruiting.”
More than half of the football programs in the SEC already have a consolidated football facility to base all of their operations, and South Carolina looks to not only keep up, but move ahead of the pack. Not only will the facility enhance the student-athlete's ability to train and compete at the highest level, but it will also serve as a showcase for recruits and their parents, while continuing to provide peace of mind to donors that their contributions are being reinvested for the good of the student-athletes.
"I think it's going to be a game-changer for us as far as the student-athletes on our campus presently, but also in the recruiting process,” Muschamp said. “We all like shiny and new. It will be, and we've been able to put our hands on it with the architects and get exactly what we want. We're really excited about that process.”
Construction for the Football Operations Center is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2017 with a completion date slated for 2018.
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