Imagine trying to do The Cosby Show out of Seinfeld’s apartment.
Well that’s what some of USF’s athletic programs have been attempting to accomplish during the past few years.
The average Division I program has 5,000 square feet for the training room. The training room in the basement of the Sun Dome is 550 square feet.
“Office space is crammed and our treatment area for the athletes, in general, is jammed,” said Steve Walz, assistant athletic director for sports medicine.
And that isn’t just in the Sun Dome.
In the Recreation Center, the situation is even tighter. Three soccer coaches, women’s assistant Leslie Golden and men’s assistants Jim Felix and Mike Duncan, all share the same office.
“You make do with what you have, but it really is a disadvantage when you are trying to recruit against the Dukes and Indianas of college soccer,” Felix said. “We are a Top 20 program, and when you have recruits getting grilled at the door (of the Rec Center) because they don’t have a student ID or mentioning the office looks like a custodian’s closet, I don’t think that really sends the right message to them about our program.”
Not only are the offices lacking space, but their locations are also suspect. While Felix and Duncan are located upstairs, the head coach, John Hackworth, has his office downstairs. This situation makes for wasted time running up and down the stairs to communicate, as opposed to being right next door.
What would Kramer do if they forced him to move downstairs with Newman and he did not have Jerry across the hall?
Soccer isn’t the only sport at a disadvantage due to the lack of space and bad location. Because some of the trainers deal with more than one team, they have to run from the Sun Dome over to the Rec Center in order to treat some of the athletes from another sport.
“Our main focus is to keep the athletes healthy,” Walz said.
“Whatever helps us treat the athletes faster and more efficiently can only benefit the overall performance on the field, no matter what the sport.”
What Walz is referring to is the types of situations where some athletes end up waiting in line to be taken care of whereas, if there was a single, bigger training facility, the athletes’ needs would be handled more efficiently.
Some USF students don’t feel that the new building is really necessary.
“I just don’t see why they can’t just stay in the building they are already in,” Jeff Taynton, a USF student, said. “Why are they spending money on this new building when USF can’t even allow for adequate parking on campus?”
The proposed new athletic building would allow the Sun Dome to expand its reach by allowing for more internal growth as opposed to catering to the USF athletics housed there. According to Mike LaPan, Sun Dome president, the main weight room and the football locker rooms will be moved into the new building first.
“Once the move (of the football team) is complete the plan is to return one of the locker rooms to general team use such as visiting teams,” LaPan said.
“We also plan to renovate the Green and Gold room. This space provides many opportunities for outside use and could become more versatile.”
USF softball coach Ken Eriksen reiterated the benefit more space would bring to any of the school’s programs.
“We do what we can with sharing our space with the soccer program, but I guarantee it will help to have a facility to show off,” Eriksen said. “Plus, I think a project of this magnitude would really bring the school together, as did the beginning of a football program.”
The project will also benefit the other programs going on within the Rec Center.
“We need more intramural, fitness and classroom space,” Andy Honker, associate professor and director for the Rec Center, said. “With the offices downstairs opening up, we would definitely benefit in that capacity.”
Of course, money is always an issue, but Eriksen sees it as less of one as soon as the project starts.
“If we just get this thing going, once we get a spade in the ground, the money will come because people will see it has started and will want to be a part of it,” Eriksen said.