UMN athletic director proposes ambitious sports facilities plan

We need to be competitive. (MPR Photo / Jeffrey Thompson)

University of Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague has released a $190 million sports facilities plan he says will “change the future of Gopher athletics.”

He told regents today he wants to build eight projects over the next six to eight years using private funds.

U athletic officials have long felt behind competitors in athletic facilities. They have, for example, tried for years to get a complex where basketball players can practice.

Teague said it was a topic when he scouted replacements for basketball coach Tubby Smith:

“One of the questions I always got when I talked to coaches — whether it be casually or in passing — was, ‘You know, everybody knows you don’t have a basketball practice facility.’ Be that as it may, we’re going to get one. But you want that not to be part of the conversation moving forward, and that’s going to be one of our goals.”

The plan would build that as well as a:

  • training table offering food tailored to their nutritional needs;
  • football complex;
  • women’s gymnastics facility;
  • Olympic sport indoor practice facility;
  • outdoor Olympic sport track; and
  • wrestling training facility

Teague said the U needs such facilities to attract talent:

“It’s very important as we attract administrators, and especially coaches — and obviously when you recruit student athletes you want to have great facilities to bring them to where you are.”

The proposal also calls for an academic center for the athletes.