This piece is a part of our 2018 football preview. To view other entries in the preview series, click here.
The ACC's divisional format in football began with the 2005 season. Since its inception, the Hoos have been a member of the ACC Coastal along with Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. The only change to the membership of the Coastal was the addition of Pitt beginning with the 2013 football season. As such, UVA fans are quite familiar with what to expect from each program on an annual basis.
Duke: a well-coached team with innovative offense led by Coach David Cutcliffe
Georgia Tech: triple option football and Paul Johnson's perpetually annoyed visage on the sidelines
Miami: The U, oodles of athletes, and the now infamous Turnover Chain
North Carolina: Larry Fedora's usually high octane offense, an aversion to defense, and the Hoos' oldest football rival
Pitt: Heinz Field and a B1G 10 like style of football
Virginia Tech: typically unimaginative offense, Bud Foster's D, and the streak
Since the Hoos play each of these teams every season, they'll all have been covered in depth previously during our monthly schedule reviews. Instead of diving back into those details once again, this edition of Around The Coastal will examine a topic that's become something of a hot button issue in the UVA fanbase.
Since the hiring of Coach Bronco Mendenhall and later Athletics Director Carla Williams, the athletic department has slowly set in motion plans to replace the aging and obsolete McCue Center as the central hub of UVA football aside from Scott Stadium on gameday. Progress is still painfully slow as those plans are still germinating as a theoretical concept instead of an approved project with a well-defined timeline in place.
As we look Around The Coastal, what football infrastructure do our rivals and peers already have in place?
The Yoh Football Center is the home of Duke football. The facility opened in August 2002 at a cost of $22 million. Its footprint is 70,000 square feet.
The Yoh Center is adjacent to Wallace Wade Stadium offering a level of convenience for the Duke players, coaches, and support staff. Duke describes the facility as "state-of-the-art". It consists of a speed and agility room, player lounge, memorabilia floor, locker room, coaches' offices, weight room, sports medicine center, and position group meeting rooms.
Georgia Tech football has a unique setup in that its operations area is housed with the larger Yellow Jacket athletic department within the Arthur B. Edge Intercollegiate Athletics Center. The Edge Center is a four story complex that opened in 1982 and cost $7 million to construct. The center is 65,000 square feet and houses the entire Georgia Tech athletics program. It includes admin offices, an academic center, locker rooms, a training room, a dining hall, an equipment room, and additional facilities.
Georgia Tech most recently added to the facility in 1996 with the addition of the Homer Rice Center for Sports Performance. The center occupies 44,000 square feet within the Edge Center. It houses six sports performance clinics, the Howard Candler, Jr. Football Conference Center, and the George Mathews Athletic Heritage Center which is essentially a museum of Georgia Tech athletics. The Rice Center was constructed by the Yellow Jackets at a cost of $8 million.
The ground floor of the Rice Center contains the GT football locker and equipment rooms. It's conveniently located in the northeast corner of Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech's primary football training room is located here as well.
The second floor of the Edge Center houses the athletic dining hall, the football administrative offices, and the aforementioned football conference center. Georgia Tech touts the football conference center as the best in the nation housing eight meeting rooms of various sizes and state of the art video facilities. The video facilities are integrated in such a way that all eight meeting rooms can operate on their own or in an interconnected manner.
The Edge Center's third floor houses the academic center for Georgia Tech athletics.
Besides being conveniently located next to Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Edge Center is one of the most unique looking athletics buildings in the country due to its dramatic, eye-catching architecture according to Georgia Tech.
In June 2018, Georgia Tech announced its Athletics Initiative 2020. It's a $125 million fundraising effort aimed at capturing funds for operations, endownments, and athletic facilities. Part of that $125 million is targeted for a $70 million renovation of the Edge and Rice Centers.
Another $4.5 million was targeted for renovation of the football locker room which began in January 2018 and was recently completed. The impressive locker room renovation plans look to give Yellow Jacket football players the most state of the art locker room in college football. Video and photos of the new locker room facility can be viewed here.
Miami football currently resides within the Hecht Athletic Center which was dedicated in 1979 and the Schwartz Center For Athletic Excellence that opened in 2013 at 34,000 square feet and a cost of $14.7 million.
The Hecht Athletic Center houses all of Miami's athletic administrative offices. In 2001, the center underwent an $8 million expansion. As part of the expansion, a player's lounge was added as well as an outdoor terrace that overlooks the football program's Greentree Practice Fields. The 2001 expansion also included additional room for the football equipment room and a new office suite for the head football coach.
The Schwartz Center houses a gallery of champions on the first floor that showcases important achievements from all of Miami's athletes including multiple Heisman Trophies and football national championship trophies. Also on the first floor are a football locker room donated by The Rock as well as expanded training and workout facilities. The second floor houses academic focused areas including computer labs, tutoring spaces, and an academic focused auditorium.
Prior to the 2017 football season, Miami was one of six schools nationally, and the only in the ACC, without an indoor practice facility in place or under construction. As football season approaches, the finishing touches are going in at the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility. The 73,000 square foot facility was slated to cost $34 million to construct. However, Miami has met that fundraising goal and continues to raise funds to add additional bells and whistles.
The Hoos already have an indoor practice facility, so what does any of this have to do with UVA's facility deficit in football? Well, Miami's IPF will also contain a newly constructed mezzanine level of approximately 7,000 square feet. In that area will be offices for the head coach and all position coaches as well as separate meeting rooms for each position group.
Further, the project also contains an ongoing phase where the Hurricanes are completing renovations to the Schwartz Center. These updates include new football conference rooms, new offices for football administrative personnel, a football video suite, a nutrition center, and a recruiting lounge for visitors and their families.
In 1997, UNC opened the Kenan Football Center. The 78,000 square foot facility came with a $50 million price tag. It's a four story facility that included everything you've come to expect in a football operations building: large workout areas for the exclusive use of the football program, a player lounge area for recreation and relaxation, academic areas (wait a second), a large office suite for the head coach, additional office space for the position coaches, meeting areas for each position group, locker rooms, an equipment room, training and rehab areas, a large auditorium for entire team meetings, and museum area showing off the history of Tarheel football for visitors.
After the 2008 season, a fifth floor was added to the Kenan Center. That addition includes additional office spaces, recruiting spaces, a press area, pregame gathering areas, and a video and studio facility.
In 2011, UNC opened the Loudermilk Center for Excellence, a 150,000 square foot facility that serves all Tarheel athletes. Its main feature is the John W. Pope Student-Athlete Academic Support Center, a 29,000 square foot facility that provides a host of integrated academic services and spaces. It also includes additional space for premium football seating at Kenan Stadium.
In September, UNC will complete the construction of a new indoor practice facility that was promised in Coach Larry Fedora's contract with the university. That facility will include additional spaces for strength and conditioning work and sports medicine.
The Panthers are blessed to reside in the same city as the Pittsburgh Steelers. This coincidence of geography allows Pitt to have a NFL stadium and all the modern trappings that accompany it as their home field. Hitting the lottery a second time, Pitt shares the UPMC Sports Performance Complex with the Steelers too. It's the only complex in the country that houses the practice and training facilities of a college and NFL team.
The 40 acre complex contains four outdoor practice fields and four centers housed in three buildings. Those centers are the Center for Sports Medicine, Sports Training Center, Indoor Training Center, and the Fitness and Conditioning Center.
Construction began in June 1999 and was completed in September 2000. The complex cost between $30 to $80 million to build.
The Panthers and Steelers each have 50,000 square feet in the shared building. Pitt's half of the building contains the Panthers' hall of fame, their training facility, and locker room. Within the training facility is the Duratz Athletic Complex.
The Duratz Athletic Complex contains Pitt's training rooms, team meeting and film rooms, weight rooms, dining facilities, coach offices, admin staff offices, and academic support personnel. Each Pitt assistant coach has a meeting room for their position that's fully integrated with video capabilities.
The Hearst Academic Center contains a computer lab, reference library, and full-time academic support personnel.
On site is also a 125,000 square foot indoor practice facility that houses a full size football field that is utilized by each team.
Also within the complex is the 40,000 square foot UPMC Center for Sports Medicine. It's considered one of the leading sports medicine centers in the country. Located within the center is a 6,000 square foot physical therapy and rehab area.
The Merryman Center is the home of Virginia Tech's football operations. The 40,000 square foot building, adjacent to Lane Stadium, opened in 1997 at a cost of $10.6 million.
The building's first floor contains a rehab area aimed at maximizing the speed at which players return to the playing field. Also located on the first floor is the Hokies' strength and conditioning area that includes a weight room and speed and agility area. The most recent renovation of this area was finished in 2013.
The Hokies strength and conditioning area is currently 6,900 square feet. However, it's currently undergoing an expansion and another renovation that is expected to be completed in 2019. This upgrade will see the area expand to around 12,300 square feet. It represents the fifth time that Virginia Tech has upgraded or renovated the Merryman Center.
Besides expanding the footprint of the strength and conditioning area, the Hokies will look to make the space more efficient as well as introduce upgraded equipment. They'll also relocate the offices of the strength and conditioning staff into the expanded area.
The Merryman Center's second floor houses the Hokies' Hall of Legends. The Hall of Legends is considered the entranceway into VT athletics. As such, it's filled with Virginia Tech football memorabilia. It was designed with an emphasis on its impact in meetings with recruits and their families. It's received updates in both 2013 and 2016. The 2016 update focused on creating a dramatic entrance as well as creating panoramic views of Lane Stadium and Virginia Tech's indoor practice facility.
Also located on the second floor of the Merryman Center are coaches' offices, the Hokies' video department, and meeting rooms for the various position groups. In September 2017, the Hokies unveiled a newly renovated team meeting space. The Hokies also have plans to renovate all of their position group meeting rooms.