December 12, 2011 — In a ceremony held on neatly manicured practice fields where the seeds of five national championship football squads have been sowed, the University of Miami took a major step on Monday in elevating its storied intercollegiate athletics program back to prominence.
UM held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for the Theodore G. Schwartz and Todd G. Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, a facility Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst described as “a start, not a finish, to the renaissance of Hurricanes athletics.”
Located on the North side of the Hecht Athletic Center, the new Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence will be an iconic two level, 30,000-square-foot multipurpose athletics facility that will serve as the focal point of the institution’s five-time national championship football program and enhance the complete experience of the school’s more than 400 student-athletes.
From left, Sebastian the Ibis; Leonard Abess, chair of the UM Board of Trustees; Shawn Eichorst, director of athletics; Todd and Ted Schwartz, who provided the lead gift for the facility; UM President Donna E. Shalala; and Paul DiMare, chair of the UM Board of Trustees’ Athletics Advisory Committee.
The facility will include three main components: enhanced football facilities, student-athlete academics, and student-athlete wellness.
A strong football program is a highly visible hallmark of a great university. A winning record attracts the very best recruits and endears supporters to the school. Inspiration for excellence on the gridiron often begins in the locker room, which serves as a place of excitement, energy, and anticipation. At the University of Miami, the locker room is a place where countless coaching legends and NFL greats have left their mark in collegiate football history. The Center for Athletic Excellence will feature one of the finest locker rooms in college athletics, along with a 3,500-square foot players’ lounge. The locker room will provide increased dressing and changing space as well as a sitting and storage area. The lounge will offer a comfortable space for players to relax and gather before and after practice while strengthening “The U” family bond. In addition, the latest in audio-visual technology will allow coaches and student-athletes to be more efficient in day-to-day training preparations.
UM President Donna E. Shalala with Ted and Todd Schwartz and Sebastian the Ibis.
Also located on the first floor of the Center for Athletic Excellence will be the Gallery of Champions, a sports museum dedicated to the legacy of Hurricane Athletics. It will house all of the University of Miami’s national championship trophies and will honor individual national champions.
Student-athletes at the University of Miami are exactly that: students first and athletes second. Every day, our exceptional student-athletes tackle a rigorous schedule of academics and physical competition that will enable them to earn their degree while competing at the highest possible level. As a result, our student-athletes continuously rank among the top 10 percent in academic performance at NCAA Division I institutions.
Essential in any blueprint for a new athletic facility includes a first-rate academic center where student-athletes can sharpen their skills for the game of life. A premier academic center will encompass the entire second floor of the Center for Athletic Excellence, offering all student-athletes on our 18 varsity sports teams an ideal environment to enhance their learning experience. The new facility will house classrooms, tutor rooms for personalized instruction, a computer lab, a math and science technology lab, and a study hall that will comfortably accommodate up to 60 students. Plans also include space for staff offices, a 120-seat auditorium, and a learning resources room equipped with specialized software and tools to customize academic training for students with varied learning styles.
The health and safety of our student-athletes are among our primary concerns. We strive for injury prevention through proper training and seek to provide the ultimate in treatment and rehabilitative care when injury occurs. Located in the Hecht Athletic Center, a newly renovated and expanded 10,000-square-foot athletic training center will encompass the latest in sports medicine technology. This expansion will triple the size of the current facility and will provide sufficient space for our 400-plus student-athletes.
A full-scale treatment area in the athletic training center will have multiple examination rooms staffed by the very best in the field of sports medicine. A rehabilitation area will house stationary bikes, free weights, treadmills, therapy balls, and examination tables. A hydrotherapy suite will feature two hydrotherapy pools plus an aquatic therapy pool with an underwater treadmill. The athletic training center will also have ample office space for athletic trainers and specialists in sports psychology and nutrition. This holistic approach to training, rehabilitation, and overall well-being will ensure our student-athletes achieve peak performance.
Click here to view a gallery of the ceremony.
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