Recruiting to get a boost from new facilities

by - Senior Writer -
Swinney said that he hopes the indoor practice facility will be in place for the 2012 season.

CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said the West Zone project has already been a boon to recruiting, and Friday’s announcement of a $50 million athletic facility enhancement project, which includes completion of the WestZone and indoor practice field, will help even more.

The five-year plan announced by the university includes improvements to facilities for football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis and golf, but it was obviously the football portion that had Swinney excited.

The practice facility will include a regulation-size artificial turf field, coaching towers, video platforms and garage style doors, and it will be located at the current practice fields. The total cost of the indoor facility is $10 million, while the completion of the WestZone project will cost $15.3 million.

Swinney said that he hopes the indoor practice facility will be in place for the 2012 season.

“There’s approval through campus planning, as well as a budget control board,” Swinney said. “But we are hoping to get everything started as soon as there is approval, and I’ve been told that our timeframe, from breaking ground to completion, is seven to ten months.”

He said that the facility will not be used just during inclement weather, but year-round.

“We’re blessed in football,” he said. “Where we’ve been able to move into is an incredible facility, but you’re always trying to get better. You’re always trying to tweak. This indoor facility is going to be a great benefit for our team by allowing them to have skills and drills at any time.”

Swinney said that his football camps – which are also a big draw to recruits – will also take advantage of the facility.

“You will have those big old garage doors, and you can funnel a lot of people in and out at one time,” Swinney said. “There will be restrooms located inside, so you don’t have to jump on a golf cart to take somebody back over to the WestZone. And before, when there was bad weather, we had to put them all in the Jervey Gym because really, that was the only place we could put them.

“So you would have 400 or 500 kids sitting around in the bleachers and in the floor, and they would all be looking at you. Now, we can have a nice play and we can spread everything out. And really, all of the facilities that are being upgraded will help us. We can drive them around campus and show them the soccer facility, the baseball facility, the tennis facility, and they will all be first-class.”

The basketball improvements include a new practice floor and multi-purpose room and will be constructed at the southwest corner of Littlejohn Coliseum. Included will be an open-air pavilion that’s available for concerts and private parties, with a total cost of $5.1 million.

Men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell said he didn’t know that these types of improvements were in the works when he took the job.

“I really didn’t know about all this until a couple of months ago,” Brownell said. “I think it shows a commitment by our athletic department and our university to our basketball program. Not only are the facilities important for recruiting, but it’s also important to have the necessities that you need to make your players better. Right now, we have some scheduling problems because of the lack of space, and this will help out tremendously.”

Press release on the improvement plan with drawings

Friday's press conference audio (MP3 Format)

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney on improvements (MP3 Format)

Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell on improvements (MP3 Format)

Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips on improvements (MP3 Format)

Athletic facility improvements over past decade

Over the past 10 years, Clemson University has invested nearly $120 million in upgrading and improving athletic facilities. These improvements have had an impact on a number of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, track and women’s rowing.


Improvements to practice fields, including the installation of an artificial turf field

Renovating the east end and north and south stands of Memorial Stadium

New scoreboard/video board/ProAds in east endzone of Memorial Stadium

Upgrading lights in Memorial Stadium

Construction of the first two phases WestZone, including new locker rooms, weight room, training room, offices, meeting spaces, club-level seating and suites, entrance and concourse area


Complete renovation of Littlejohn Coliseum to upgrade seating, improve sight lines, enhance restrooms and concession areas, replace the roof and upgrade the exterior appearance of the building

The addition of an annex and new locker rooms, weight room and training room

The addition of a video board to Littlejohn Coliseum

Two new wood practice floors (used on a temporary basis at the indoor track facility)


Renovation of baseball stadium to enhance exterior and add a roof and new press box. After this renovation, the stadium was renamed Doug Kingsmore Stadium

Addition of the Chapman Grandstands and right field bleachers in Doug Kingsmore Stadium

New lighting at Doug Kingsmore Stadium

Addition of an artificial practice field


New locker rooms and press box at Riggs Field


New court surfaces

Upgraded lighting

Addition of the Duckworth Pavilion, a two-story expansion of the Hoke Sloan Tennis Center that includes an open top deck, a covered lower deck, an outdoor kitchen and meeting space


Resurfaced track and enhanced landscaping at Rock Norman Track and Field Complex

Construction of an indoor track and field complex, which includes a 200-meter 8-lane track, a six-lane oval track, one high jump apron, two pole vault runways and two long and triple jump runways

Women’s Rowing:

Construction of an 11,500-square foot boathouse on Lake Hartwell, with an expanded locker room, additional workout space, a team meeting room, athlete lounge, kitchen and coaches’ offices

Added chair-back, stadium style stadium for spectators

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