UMN athletic director: We’ve carved out space. It won’t be extravagant

Williams Arena interior

As you know, University of Minnesota Athletic Director told MPR’s Tom Weber on The Daily Circuit his view that his athletes need a new academic center for themselves.

His $190 million sports construction plan calls for the private funding and construction of eight projects over the next six to eight years.

He say’s they’d be high-quality facilities that aren’t extravagant:

“We want to build smart facilities — facilities that meet our needs, facilities that are first rate and attractive, but not too over the top to where it’s a waste of money. We’re not saying that. So we want to be smart. And I think we can compete if we’re smart and do it the right way.”

Teague said many U of M athletic facilities were built in the 1970s and are too small. The resulting overcrowding has caused coaches to schedule practices at odd times.

He stressed that a successful sports program can help the U boost admissions and fundraising without sacrificing academic progress.

He also told Weber that lack of dedicated space — not money — has kept the U from getting its coveted men’s and women’s basketball practice facility.

(It’s one thing that former basketball coach Tubby Smith called for — but never got.)

Teague said a fund-raising assessment several years ago showed interest in the new basketball practice area.

But the U wasn’t sure it had space that could hold it:

“Any college campus that’s even remotely urban — you know, in a small college town — you’re landlocked in a lot of ways. So that’s always a challenge. But I feel like we’ve solved that for now.”

Teague says he has carved out space near the Bierman Field Athletic Building off 15th Avenue near Dinkytown.

Many athletic practice facilities are already located there.