Ryan Fieldhouse and New Facilities Becoming Reality
Northwestern’s new on-campus sports facility has a name. It is a somewhat familiar one, but it proves that the university is one step closer to making the athletic transformation of its school and its program a reality.
Northwestern announced Sunday that the school has raised $55 million in gifts to the athletic department to go toward the facilities project which will include the building to be named the Ryan Fieldhouse, in honor of the Ryan Family who once again have made a large donation to the project.
The on-campus facility will integrate the student athletes more with the main campus, giving them a weight room and study areas on campus rather than off campus near Ryan Field. It will also be the location for the football team’s new practice field, which will be named Wilson Field in honor of another substantial gift given to the project. The field will also reportedly be available for use for intramural sports, opening up the state-of-the-art facilities to the general student population.
This has been a project everyone has been anticipating for several years now and so any tangible piece that shows it is getting done is encouraging. Giving the building a name and seeing the enthusiasm of contributions coming in to fund this facilities expansion is extremely positive for fans like us and the for the student athletes.
This bold investment in a multi-purpose complex for athletics and recreation on the lakefront will help foster the kind of vibrant, tight-knit community outlined in the University’s strategic plan,” President Schapiro said. The gifts recognize that athletics play a pivotal role in the life of the University, and the benefits of these facilities will extend to the entire Northwestern community.
The new facilities are still drawings on paper, but it seems like we are getting closer and closer to putting shovel to dirt and making this thing a reality. We know how important these facilities can be fore recruiting players and maintaining the talent on the coaching staff. At least we believe that this will put our athletics ahead (or close the gap with some of our rivals) and reflect positively upon the university.
Any way you slice it, this is an important step for Northwestern athletics. And good news to hear as Northwestern Nation gathers in Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl this week.
Basketball Injuries … Again
All the focus this week is on the Gator Bowl and probably rightly so. We all know what is at stake in that game and it is the culmination of what has been an incredible season for the Wildcats. But the NU men’s basketball team will continue to slog through its schedule and open up Big Ten play against Michigan on Thursday at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Hopefully it will be a good week on ESPN2 for Northwestern this week.
There is some good news and some bad news on the injury front however.
Michigan’s Tim Hardaway missed his first game in his three-year career earlier this week against Central Michigan and his status is questionable for Thursday’s game against Northwestern, according to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com. Hardaway is averaging 15.8 points per game and is shooting 47.1 percent from the floor. He takes a lot of pressure off of Trey Burke.
The Wildcats though will be without Sanjay Lumpkin, according to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. Lumpkin injured his wrist bracing himself for a fall. Lumpkin may require surgery according to Greenstein and seems a likely candidate to redshirt after he missed nine of the first 10 games.
NU obviously needs every body it can get at this point. Losing Lumpkin is losing another body and another talented player to try and salvage something from this injury-filled season. Health though is most important. Just another unfortunate injury for the Wildcats.