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We are True Team

It’s an exciting time to be a Flyer fan. Our athletic programs are consistently boasting victories over top national programs. Why such success? Because phenomenal donor support is providing teams with all the resources they need to compete — resources such as state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including the newly renovated Donoher Center.

A Facility Built for SuccessDon Donoher

By Doug Harris

As UD Arena Director Scott DeBolt and the athletic department staff were mapping out the renovation of the Donoher Center, they kept running into a hurdle over what to do with the existing layout.

Built adjacent to the arena in 1998, the facility was impractical for the current needs and seemed too chopped up to create the spacious compounds that everyone wanted for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

That’s when the design firm HOK stepped in and triggered a paradigm shift for DeBolt and others.

“The biggest thing, when we first sat down and talked about what it would entail, was trying to stay within the existing walls, and we weren’t really looking to go outside the walls,” DeBolt said on a tour of the project over the din of ongoing construction. “HOK came on board and said, ‘Don’t worry about walls. Let’s look at the whole space.’ “That’s when they laid it out and created these compounds the way we wanted them. That really changed the scope of the project.”

DeBolt took the blueprints to men’s coach Archie Miller and women’s coach Jim Jabir to gauge their reactions.

“They said, ‘That’s it.’ We hit it right on the head, and then we kind of tweaked it from there,” DeBolt said.

The $4 million renovation of the Donoher Center was completed in November and gives the coaches and players from both teams new locker rooms, recreational space, meeting rooms and training areas that match anything found at the top programs in the country.

Donoher Basketball Center

The men and women were each given 5,000 square feet for their compounds, with about 2,400 of that devoted to separate lounges. In addition to a kitchenette and eating areas, the rooms are equipped with 90-inch flat-screen TVs.

The furniture is also customized for taller people.

The only difference between the two lounges is that the men have a pool table, while the women opted for a dining table.

“For me, it’s one of those places that takes on a lot of different dimensions and fills a lot of different holes,” Miller said. “Not only is it eye candy, it’s functional.

Locker Room Chairs“You’re able to house your team and players, have their families in there on the day of a visit and eat a meal. And you can do all kinds of stuff where, in the past, that hasn’t been an option.”

The locker rooms are patterned after the work that HOK did for the Chicago Bulls. The men have an egg-shaped room, while the women’s is more crescent-shaped.

The idea was for the coaches to be able to address their teams as the players form a semicircle without having to move from the chairs in front of their new wooden lockers.

The hallways between the main rooms have been labeled by the staff as the “Yellow Brick Road of Recruiting.” They’re decorated with Flyers-related art, including shots of current NBA and WNBA players.

“When potential student-athletes visit, come to a game and hang around afterward, it’s a wow factor. We stack up with anybody in the country when it comes to facilities,” Miller said. “The second thing is it’s a place where you can entertain. You can take unofficial visits and sit down and talk to people. You have more to show and more to talk about.”

The football team kept its Donoher Center locker room, which doubles as a media room for the NCAA First Four games. The squad also has a training area with its own yellow brick road of recruiting.

Funds for the project were raised before the first steel stud was delivered. Donors have seen the momentum in both programs and want to get on board.

The men went to the Elite Eight for the first time in 30 years in 2014 and have won five NCAA tournament games in the last two years.

Women's BasketballThe women also are coming off an Elite Eight appearance and are one of just 11 teams with four NCAA wins in the last two years.

“We’re so fortunate to have what we have,” Jabir said. “Tim Wabler [former athletic director] and his vision have been amazing.

“It’s going to help us be competitive. I know recruits are really excited to see it, and our kids are going to love it. I’m just so grateful. It really is cutting-edge stuff. It rivals what any of the BCS schools have and positions us to continue our excellence.”

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