Maryland athletics department announces plans for new basketball performance center
When Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon stepped to the podium in Xfinity Center Tuesday afternoon, the expression on his face spoke before what was to come was even announced.
After having doubts about the possibility of constructing a new facility during his tenure, Turgeon and women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese realized the dream they had for their players to have their own practice facility was finally going to happen.
Maryland Director of Athletics Damon Evans announced in a press conference held on Tuesday the university’s plan to construct a new practice facility for men and women’s basketball. The facility will feature two separate indoor practice courts, upgraded locker rooms and a hallway that illustrates the history of Maryland basketball over the seasons.
Maryland is currently one of only two Power Five programs in the country without a separate practice facility.
“We have a great culture with our basketball program, and sometimes there’s just nowhere for us to use that culture,” Turgeon said. “Now we have no excuses with this building.”
The project will cost $36 million to complete and is being completely privately funded by donors. According to Evans, $19 million has been donated so far.
“We are going to raise every dollar,” Turgeon said. “We aren’t going to have to borrow any money from anybody. We are going to get it done because we are Maryland basketball.”
Evans credited Maryland graduate and longtime basketball booster Harvey Sanders for his unspecified financial contributions to the campaign.
“[Sanders] has been a force behind this effort,” Evans said. “We would not be here up on this stage today without his drive and passion.”
Evans said that the ideal plan is to have the project completed within a 36-month window.
The new facility will be built in Lot UU and will be directly connected to Xfinity Center, allowing coaches and student-athletes to have easy accessibility to both.
In his ninth year at Maryland, Turgeon said the new practice center had been overdue. He talked a little bit about one instance where the team’s original practice site had a leaky roof, so the team was scrambling to find a place where they could practice in some fashion with the limited time they had left in the day.
“It’s 48 degrees and raining out, and we are running in our practice uniforms and our managers are carrying things from this building to that building so we can have practice,” Turgeon said. “Hopefully we aren’t doing that in a couple years.”
The new facility will provide more than just extra practice time for the players and coaches. It will also allow for Xfinity Center to host more nonathletic events, such as shows and concerts.
Frese talked a little bit about the aspirations that her players come into College Park with, and how the new facility will be able to help them continue to elevate their game and master their craft.
“We have five former Terps playing in the WNBA championship currently, you see the dreams that they have wanting to play at the next level,” Frese said. “The fact that now they will have 24-hour access to be able to get in at anytime… I know for Coach Turgeon and I is a big time element that I think will be able to separate both of our programs to an even higher level.”
She said that while she and Turgeon have been able to successfully recruit some of the nation’s top players over the years, adding this new facility in their pitches to high school recruits will intrigue some of the best young prospects to come play in College Park.
Evans said the center will be a new form of inspiration for the Maryland community.
“The new basketball performance center delivers on the vision that we set forth for our program,” Evans said. “We will lead boldly, we will provide a student-centered environment and we will provide or inspire Maryland pride.”
The complete proposed design layout for the facility can be seen here.