For a team that will not have an official spring game and has closed off practices to the media after the team stretching period, the Miami Hurricanes have had a good bit of news coming from their football program. The latest comes from the twitter feed of head coach Mark Richt, in a tweet that has been deleted since. He announced that the Hurricanes will break ground on on a new indoor practice facility on May 4th. The announcement comes as a relief to the football team, as the ‘Canes are the only team in the Atlantic Coast Conference without an indoor practice facility.
Funding for the Facility
In the past whenever the subject would arise, one of the more debated issues would always come down to the funding. The University of Miami, being a smaller private school, limits the school, in terms of donations from the alumni base to seek donations. Richt, shortly after his hire, recognized the need for an indoor facility and has already pledged a million dollars of his own towards the project.
The Hurricanes received the largest donation in the history of the athletic department from the family for which the facility is named after. Jeffrey Soffer, as well as the other children of Carol Soffer, have joined together to give a gift of 14 million dollars towards the indoor facility. As for Carol Soffer, she says she is ecstatic of the project. “I’ve always been a passionate supporter of the University of Miami Athletics Department for over 20 years, and I’m honored that my family and I can be part of this tremendous project, the football indoor facility will bring a new dimension to the University. It will have a lasting effect on all student-athletes now and in the future.”
Former Miami players have also come together to contribute to the project. Before the second spring scrimmage, the Hurricanes held an annual alumni social that allowed some former players to interact with some of the current players. According to senior associate athletic director Jesse Marks, over 110,000 dollars was raised during the Friday social event by former players.
In total over 1.7 million dollars has been raised by former players, including a quarter-million contribution from former first round draft pick Jon Beason. In a phone interview with the Miami Herald, Beason went into detail about what led the former football standout to give a donation. He said, “a lot of the success in which he has had in his life has been made possible because of the University.”
State of the Art Facility
The facility will be equipped with two football turf fields, one of which will be 80 yards in length as well as another 40-yard field. The shorter field will connect to the Squillante Strength and Conditioning Center, which is where the weight room is located. The facility will also connect to the Hecht Athletic Center, the administrative offices for all UM athletics. A 20,000-square-foot football operations center will also be included in the project. Within the football center will feature six position meeting room, a suite for the head coach, a recruiting suite with more lounges and meeting rooms and a state-of-the art video center.
Currently Miami is 2-3 million short of the 34 million needed for the project, however groundbreaking is set for May 4th. Those around the athletics program are confident the goal will be reached prior to the targeted completion date of August 2018. The indoor facility became a huge topic of conversation after Miami held it’s pro day in 2016 in pouring rain in front of scouts that represented 31 out of the 32 NFL teams. One of the scouts on hand even told NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt that it was the worst conditions ever for a pro day.