DAYTON, Ohio – The University of Dayton is embarking on four major initiatives that will continue to elevate its nationally prominent athletics program.
The Flyers will add women's lacrosse as an intercollegiate sport, and the University will seek private support to make major renovations to three facilities, part of a multi-phase enhancement to all athletic facilities that began 15 years ago. Those strategic investments have reaped results: Dayton has won more championships in that time frame than in any other period in history and has ranked among the nation's best in graduating its student-athletes.
The initiatives are:
• The construction of a 10,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Athletic Performance Center in Reichard Hall. The 1,800-square-foot basketball weight room at the Donoher Center will be relocated to this facility, which will be just steps away from other major athletic facilities on campus — Baujan Field, the Frericks Center and the Cronin Center.
• The modernization of the Donoher Basketball Center with upgrades to technology, locker rooms and meeting spaces for Flyer basketball and football teams.
• The continued renovation of the Frericks Center, home of the nationally ranked volleyball team. A new locker room, enhanced game-day and practice environments, an atrium and improved offices are part of the plan.
• The addition of women’s lacrosse as an intercollegiate sport beginning in the 2016 spring season. Lacrosse is the fastest-growing team sport in the U.S., according to the most recent research by Sports Marketing Surveys USA. Its addition will give Dayton 18 intercollegiate sports.
“We have invested substantially during the last 15 years in facilities where our sport programs compete and train,” said Tim Wabler, vice president and director of athletics. “We are giving our student-athletes and coaches the tools they need to get better every day. These projects will provide our student-athletes with the support they need to compete successfully on the fields and courts — and in the classroom."
The investment in athletics is part of a larger picture at the University of Dayton, where the pace of change is among the most rapid and substantial seen at any American university. During a decade of remarkable growth, the University has invested more than $350 million in dozens of projects ranging from the transformation of NCR Corp.'s former world headquarters into a highly visible home for the renowned University of Dayton Research Institute to the construction of new residential facilities and the modernization of all others on the highly residential campus. The University will launch a new undergraduate general education curriculum in the fall, after investing in new faculty positions and courses.
"These new athletic projects, which will be supported largely through private support, are part of our long-range strategic plan of creating a strong learning-living environment on campus for all students," said Daniel J. Curran, University of Dayton president.
In the past 15 years, the on-campus home for every Flyer team has been either newly constructed or renovated — Baujan Field (soccer), Frericks Center (volleyball), Graul Tennis Complex (tennis), UD Softball Stadium (softball), Woerner Field at Time Warner Cable Stadium (baseball) and University of Dayton Arena (basketball). More than 85 percent of the funding has come from private donations and corporate support.
"From the iconic University of Dayton Arena — the most-used venue in NCAA men's basketball tournament history — to the new Cronin Center that serves as a practice facility for all our intercollegiate teams, we believe our facilities are on par with the best in the nation," Wabler said.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON INITIATIVES
Dayton has won more championships than in any other period in history and has ranked among the nation's best in graduating its student-athletes in the 15 years since the division of athletics started its multi-phase enhancement of athletics facilities.
So naturally, Flyer coaches are excited about the latest upgrades to athletics facilities.
Below is a summary of the four initiatives announced this summer and reaction from men’s basketball coach Archie Miller, women’s basketball coach Jim Jabir, women’s volleyball coach Matt Affolder and Vice President and Director of Athletics Tim Wabler.
ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE CENTER
The Athletic Performance Center will benefit all of Dayton’s sports programs. The location, which is attached to the east side of the Frericks Center, will allow nearly all 450 of the University’s student-athletes to train, practice and study within a 500-feet radius.
Within that radius are the Athletic Performance Center, the Riggs Academic Center, the Premier Health Athletic Training Facility, the Bockhorn Court practice gym, the Cronin Center, the Frericks Center and Baujan Field.
"This is going to be such a special advantage for our program. The value that we put in training our players can't be measured, it's so vital to our success. Not only will we be training in one of the finest facilities in the nation, but also our players now will benefit from training, studying and living all about 500 feet from one another. It's going to completely change their quality of life and will set them up for success immediately."
- Archie Miller, head coach of the Dayton men’s basketball team
“This gives us the resources we need to take our nationally-ranked program to the highest level. We already have the greatest fans. We have the greatest arena. We have one of the greatest meeting room and film facilities with the addition of the Cronin Center last year. Upgrading our performance facilities to the best place we can train gives our athletes everything they need to succeed, and they should expect to be the best as well. Our administration has made a huge commitment of excellence to our programs, and I'm really glad to be a part of this.”
- Jim Jabir, head coach of the Dayton women’s basketball team
DONOHER BASKETBALL CENTER RENOVATIONS
The move of the Donoher Basketball C enter weight room to campus gives the University the opportunity to renovate the entire Donoher Center and keep it on par with the best in the nation.
"The commitment to basketball and to our program is as high as it’s ever been at the University of Dayton,” “In many ways this determines how bright a future we can have. The Donoher Basketball Center will remain one the best facilities in the country, and will really change how we recruit our players."
- Archie Miller, head coach of the Dayton men’s basketball team
FRERICKS CENTER RENOVATIONS
The Frericks Center renovation follows on the heels of two improvements in the last two years – the replacement of the playing court in 2009 and better lighting above the court to improve television broadcasts in 2011. The largest piece of the Frericks Center renovation will be the construction of a new locker room for UD’s nationally-ranked volleyball team. The new locker room, located adjacent the court, will be three times larger than the current locker room, and will include newly available team meeting space.
“There is no question the Frericks Center is one of the top volleyball venues in the country, and with the announcement of a new locker room, this will provide our players and staff with the space and resources to prepare each day to compete against the nation’s elite. We are honored by the commitment the University has provided. Recruits who walk into the Frericks Center will be in awe as they see the completion of one of the premier volleyball-only facilities in the country.”
- Matt Affolder, head coach of the Dayton volleyball team
ADDING WOMEN’S LACROSSE in 2015-16
The addition of women’s lacrosse, the fastest-growing team sport in the U.S., according to the most recent research by Sports Marketing Surveys USA, gives Dayton 18 intercollegiate sports. Flyer women’s lacrosse will start competition in spring of 2016.
“Lacrosse is enjoying unprecedented growth,” University of Dayton Vice President and Director of Athletics Tim Wabler said. “We understand the popularity of the game from youth levels all the way to the pros. We are excited to add another avenue such as lacrosse to showcase our student-athletes at the University of Dayton.”
- Tim Wabler, University of Dayton vice president and director of athletics