Athletics has ‘a place to call their own’

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

Tucked back in a corner of the old, dingy men’s locker room is a brand new area, an area most people do not know about, a jewel not seen by many people.

This past month, the Jackrabbit athletic teams started moving into their new team rooms and locker rooms in Frost Arena.

Each room consists of a lounge area and meeting room. While the men’s locker room is connected to their lounge area, the women’s locker room is located separate from their lounge in a different area of Frost Arena.

The new rooms for men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, and swimming and diving cost approximately $2 million, according to Assistant Athletic Director for Development Mike Burgers. Burgers said that the money was raised through a mixture of fundraising and being budgeted within the athletic department and university.

“I think that’s important … the commitment that the athletic department and the university has made as a whole to better the lives of our student athletes,” Burgers said.

The meeting rooms have made it easier for the teams to meet and watch films without going through the hassle of finding a room in the HPER Center, Laurie Melum, associate head coach for women’s basketball, said.

Located in the lounges are leather chairs and couches – each fit with a Jackrabbit insignia – refrigerators, tables, microwaves, a television and a strip of yellow and blue checkerboard carpeting, much like the end zones at Coughlin Alumni Stadium and endlines at Frost Arena.

“The rooms are a really nice place for us,” Melum said. “It’s a place where our student athletes can come, and they can just hang out or they can come and study. The lounge is a place for them to call their own.”

The current Jackrabbit athletes will not be the only ones to use the rooms; incoming recruits will use them, as well. Both Melum and Burgers mentioned that incoming recruits have seen the rooms and been impressed with them.

“I think it’s exciting for the recruits,” Melum said. “Any of the recruits that (have) seen it have been really excited about it. They’ve been impressed. It’s something that other schools do have, as well, and it kind of puts us on par with them.”

While only five teams have moved into the new room, Burgers said the master plan calls for every team to have their own locker room, meeting room and lounge.

“Obviously, we would like to have that as soon as possible, but it’s a matter of funding,” Burgers said. “The second phase of the Dykhouse Center, when we get to that point, will encompass those other sports.”

#1.881964:461472077.jpg:locker_lounge_sab-0009.jpg:Basketball, volleyball and swimming and diving athletes moved into their new locker rooms in January. In addition, lounge areas and meeting rooms were also built for the teams in the HPER Center.:Stephen Brua