Jerry Kill seeks fast facilities upgrade

May, 24, 2012
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Norwood Teague's fundraising success at VCU was one of the biggest reasons he landed the job as Minnesota's athletic director. Last year, Teague launched a campaign to build a $10 million practice facility for men's and women's basketball. According to Teague's VCU bio, the school's athletic annual fund has increased by more than 119 percent during his watch.

That's good news for Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill, who is making it clear to his new boss that the program needs a facilities bump in the near future. While the opening of TCF Bank Stadium marked a huge step for Minnesota after the drab years in the Metrodome, the football program's everyday facility, the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex, lags behind the competition in the Big Ten.

From the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press:
The U's indoor football practice facility cost $5.5 million to build in 1985 under coach Lou Holtz, who left to coach Notre Dame after two seasons. The building has received only patchwork and paint since then, although new turf was installed before the 2010 football season. Among the issues are several leaks in the 55-foot-high roof.
"It's not in good shape," Kill said. "That's not a football-selfish issue. We have nine teams using that, plus everybody on campus. For about $3 million, you can fix that. That needs to be an immediate fix. Now [Teague is] the boss, but it's an eyesore in recruiting. It's not good."

The interesting subplot here is that Minnesota men's basketball coach Tubby Smith also wants a separate practice facility. During Teague's introductory news conference last month, Smith told reporters, "We shouldn't be the last school in the Big Ten without a practice facility."

So who gets a new facility first, football or men's basketball? Teague's big accomplishments as an AD have come on the hoops side, but he left VCU for Minnesota in part because he wanted to oversee a department with FBS football. While Smith is the bigger name with the national championship on his résumé, Teague is in a league (Big Ten) where football undeniably drives the bus. If Minnesota can get better on the gridiron, all the others programs will benefit.
"I have a big vision of where we need to go; Tubby does, too," Kill said. "But you've got to take care of what you have because you just don't get things like [a new facility] right away. What are we going to do immediately to help the programs?"

Teague soon will have to answer that question. It's his first big decision in a big new job.

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