TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, April 22, 2004
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Facilitating athletic prowess
New and improved athletic complexes boost success
Athletics director Eric Hyman says the athletic department has a huge commitment toward improving facilities for all athletic programs.

By Braden Howell
Skiff Staff

Recently, athletic department events have been a ribbon-cutting affair.

In the past five years, TCU has renovated or constructed almost every athletic facility on campus, including the recent completion of the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Basketball Complex, the new home of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Athletics director Eric Hyman said an indoor football practice facility is part of future plans as well, but probably not any time soon.

“It’s time for us to take a step back and catch our second wind,” Hyman said. “It takes an incredible amount of energy and money to accomplish all the things we have, and we’ve done so much over the past five years that it’s time to step back and look at everything.”

In addition to the new basketball complex, a combination of money and energy over the past five years has paved the way for a new baseball and soccer stadium, a new tennis center, a new track and field complex, and a new athletic facility. The most recent addition to the athletic facilities is the football turf practice field, which is scheduled to be completed Friday, head football coach Gary Patterson said.

The turf practice field is just another step in keeping athletics competitive with some of the top universities in the country.

“If you look at teams around the country getting better, you see their facilities are getting better,” Patterson said.

Hyman said the athletic department has a huge commitment toward improving facilities for all athletic programs. He said these improvements help elevate the level of the athletic programs, and help create a “brand identity” for TCU.

Anyone watching this year’s Bowl Championship Series title game saw first-hand that the country is becoming more cognizant of Horned Frogs’ athletics. However, it was not just due to the advertising of Super Frog in commercials with Snoop Dog and Johnnie Cochran.

“The proof’s in the pudding,” Hyman said. “Our programs weren’t very successful when we started doing (improvements), but you look at the results and you know TCU has been elevated across the country.”

Hyman said it was a risk-reward scenario, in that there was a risk involved with making improvements for struggling programs, and the rewards would be the play of teams. The results speak for themselves, he said.

While the entire country knew the Horned Frogs football team came close to crashing the BCS, several other TCU programs secured a place in history as well. The men’s and women’s swimming and diving team’s captured the Conference USA championship, recording the first-ever single school sweep in conference history.

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams played in the conference championship matches; the women’s soccer team was the fifth-most improved team in the country, and the women’s basketball team reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row. Currently both golf teams are in contention for the Conference USA crown, as the men had a 15 stroke lead going into the final round, and the women trail by just four strokes.

Hyman said good results make it easier to develop better facilities, but not necessarily as a reward from the school.

“The money for new facilities comes from fundraising, not from (the athletic department),” he said. “People develop trust in what we’re trying to do, so the generosity has been spread over five years because athletics has been recognized and supported tremendously.”

The tremendous support has translated into $28 million in fundraising over the last five years from individuals, foundations, and corporations, said Davis Babb, associate athletic director. In addition, the athletics department has received $7 million in donations for athletic scholarships, Babb said.

Hyman said the athletic department will be doing strategic planning to discuss the future of athletic facilities, and the football indoor practice facility will be a component of the plan. That plan, he said, will cover the next 10 to 15 years, approximately.

Patterson said he is not even thinking about the future indoor facility, and is happy to have the new turf practice field. He said it will help keep the players healthy, and show recruits the university is as committed to the program as other, more well-known football programs.

“You need it if you want to stay up with the Jones’s,” Patterson said. “I think (Texas) A&M is putting in two of these things.”

Courtesy of
The Ed and Rae Schollmaier Basketball Complex (left) and the new football turf practice field (right) are the two newest athletic facility additions.
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