Most would agree the basketball facilities are in need of some upgrades at Minnesota

Most would agree the basketball facilities are in need of some upgrades at Minnesota


New AD Norwood Teague came to the University of Minnesota with a reputation for fundraising and getting things done, and he’s quickly working to make that credit stick with the Gophers. Teague said in a phone conversation on Wednesday that he and the ‘U’ are shopping for master planning firms to get the basics in place for an overall facilities layout and timeline. Right now, Minnesota is “down to the 11th hour” in determining the right company, and will choose one next week, Teague said.

A major part of that eventual plan will include a basketball practice facility, something Teague calls “a need, not a want” at Minnesota, and a project that he believes has adequate financial support to be realistic.
Here’s what’s going on:
  • A master planning firm is the first step in realizing any new facilities. Since Teague came to Minnesota, he has talked about a master facilities plan on paper to give donors a clear vision of what they want and how they would go about it. “I’ve learned over the years that you really need to get a plan in place,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to do too many run-offs that don’t make any sense in an overall plan. If you have an overall plan, it’s a lot easier to sell to donors that you have a very well-thought out plan using an outside consultant that does this around the country (and) that does this at other college athletic departments.”
  • This firm would: Look at space issues and needs as far as facilities -- What needs to happen now? What can wait? Teague said they will evaluate needs over up to a 15-year span. The firm would conduct interviews with coaches, the athletic department, and non-sports personnel such as people in the President’s office. Teague talked about the challenges the public often doesn’t realize. “We’ve got to get everybody to feel good about it on campus,” he said.
  • The firm would also come up with specific cost estimates “so we can get an idea of what kind of budget we’re looking at, what are our thresholds on what can you build for what amount of money,” Teague said.
  • The master facilities plan would revolve around two initial aspects: A practice facility for the women’s and men’s basketball programs and a football support facility. “Those two are going to be at the heart,” Teague said.
  • Teague has talked with Gopher alum T. Denny Sanford as a potential main donor for the football facility. Sanford had at one point planned to donate $35 million to the new football stadium (which would have been named for him), but an agreement was never reached.
  • There have been several individuals highly interested in funding a potential basketball practice facility, Teague said. “We feel like there is a good amount of resources there and people that are interested in knowing that we need it.”
  • Teague on the practice facility: “It is a need, more than a want here right now. We’ve got limitations on court space that are just not adequate, much less all the other amenities that would go into it.”
  • Some of the things Teague said he would want the facility to include are:

.         o   Two separate courts (one for men, one for women) that would be housed on either ends of the buildings (to prevent distractions that would come from the courts sitting side-by-side).

·         o   A weight room

·         o   A sports medicine center
·         o   Meetings rooms equipped for film work
·         o   Players’ lounges
·         o   Offices? This piece is up for debate, Teague said.
  • NEXT: Once the ‘U’ chooses a firm, they will begin working with them a week later, Teague said. The entire process should take about three months. From that, he said he hopes to move straight into a design stage, which would require hiring an architectural firm for specifics.
“It’s a massive recruiting tool and we know that full well,” Teague said. “We’re the only school in the Big Ten besides Northwestern that doesn’t have one. Coaches around the coach will tell you that it’s a program changer and really provides separation from other programs. That combined on top of the fact that it’s a need I think will motivate our donor base to be involved.”

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