Hartman: U of M to break ground on new football facility

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 27, 2014 - 12:17 PM

The Gophers are building a $70 million practice complex; other facilities will follow as funds come in.


Under grey, rainy skies, the University of Minnesota football team went through their first day of practice at the U of M football complex Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012

Photo: David Joles, STAR TRIBUNE FILE

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague and former Gophers and North Stars hockey player Lou Nanne, who is the chairman of the $190 million fundraising drive to upgrade the school’s athletic facilities, have refused to comment on the progress of the drive.

But boosters must be contributing, because the Star Tribune has learned that ground will be broken this December on a $70 million football facility that will include not only a modern indoor practice facility but coaching offices and other amenities for the program.

The new facility is expected to be located in an area behind the Bierman Building, and speculation is that the new outdoor track will be moved to somewhere in St. Paul.

The current facility, the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex, was built in 1985 for $5.5 million when Lou Holtz was coach. But the building simply can no longer serve the needs of the team.

This winter and spring, Gophers kickers and punters have been unable to effectively practice because the 55-foot-high ceilings are too low to simulate kicks under game conditions.

The current practice facility is 12,000 square feet and was recently renovated for $1 million. It includes a practice field, along with the football offices, training/treatment areas and student tutor centers.

But compare it to the Nebraska practice facility, which is 81,200 square feet and features a full-length FieldTurf field identical to the Cornhuskers’ Memorial Stadium (and has two adjoining outdoor practice fields, one with FieldTurf and one with grass), and it demonstrates how badly the Gophers need a new practice facility to be competitive in the Big Ten. This $70 million complex will be just that and then some.

The word is there will be a basketball practice facility built in the near future as well, with more facilities to be built as fundraising progresses.

Dakich likes Gophers

Dan Dakich, the former Indiana basketball player and coach who does color commentary for ESPN, worked the Gophers’ 81-73 NIT victory over Southern Mississippi on Tuesday and said he believes Minnesota keeps getting better. He thinks beating the Golden Eagles was a big win for a few reasons.

“No. 1, I think Mo Walker keeps getting better,” said Dakich of the 6-10 junior, who had 12 points and nine rebounds against Southern Miss. “As you go to New York and you go on to next year, he’s going to be really big for Minnesota. Austin Hollins got out of here with a big performance and they beat a good team.

“I thought [Austin Hollins] was the difference in the ballgame. When they were down and struggling, he came in and hit [six] threes and I think he gave everybody in the building a lot of confidence.”

Austin’s big game

How important has Austin Hollins’ offense been?

Minnesota is 8-2 in games in which the senior guard has scored 15 or more points, with the losses coming against Arkansas and Michigan. Hollins scored a career-high 32 points against Southern Miss and moved up to 16th on the Gophers’ career scoring list.

“I just was focused,” he said. “It was my last game in the Barn, the whole team was trying to get to New York and that’s our goal right now, to go win the NIT. That’s really what our focus was going into the game [Tuesday].

“Confidence really builds when you hit that first one and see it go through the net. You see that second one go through the net, the rim just gets bigger and bigger and your confidence is as high as it can be.”

Hollins was asked how the Gophers bounced back to win three NIT games after losing to Wisconsin 83-57 in the Big Ten tournament.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question