(Above left) Athletic Director Mal Moore shows off Bama's just-completed weight room to the assembled media. Many UA officials deserve credit for the ongoing renovations, but without question Coach Moore has been the driving force behind fund raising and seeing that the various projects get completed as rapidly as possible. Time after time during the planning stages, when the architect's plans or committee recomendations were passed along to Moore, he sent them back with the simple notation "Make it nicer." Moore said, "We're very proud of the facility. We feel strongly about the impact it's had on recruiting."
Moore also talked briefly about the fund-raising campaign which is ongoing. Original plans called for Alabama to raise $50 million dollars in direct pledges, with the state underwriting a bond issue for another $50 million that would fund the addition to Bryant-Denny Stadium. "We're a little over $35 million in signed pledges right now," Moore said. "And we've got another $6-7 million promised that we know is coming. We're making progress toward our goal."
All of the new furniture hasn't yet arrived, but the Recruiting Room on the second floor of the Football Complex Annex has been usable for two weeks now. One of the best things about the facility is that it gives the coaches a large enough area to feed and entertain a sizable group of recruits and their parents, either before games during the season or on one of the recently completed official visit weekends before Signing Day. Note the windows (left background) that look down on the weight-lifting area. Food preparation area is behind the wall to the right.
Looking down into the two-story area of the weight room, from the corner of the Recruiting Room above. Note that the various bench-press and squat stations have been installed.
On the opposite end of the Recruiting Area, a large four-cornered ante-room is set aside for television and the latest video games. Each corner has two TVs, making a total of eight video stations in all. And that doesn't include the big-screen television mounted on one wall of the larger room. Note that the chairs, etc. are temporary, just to be used until the new furniture arrives.
Another look at the weight room from the second-floor Recruiting Area above. Bama's new lifting facility totals just over 22,000 square feet--as large as anyone's but Nebraska's and second to none in terms of equipment and other niceties. As Alabama Strength Coach Kent Johnston noted, "Schools today are building cathedrals to impress prospects during recruiting."
Beyond the Recruiting Area, about half the assistant coaches' offices are finished. The defense has already moved in, but the offense is sharing space. Coach Rader and the other offensive assistants will soon move just across the hall to renovated offices in what is now the old complex. This photo is a view into Coach Buddy Wyatt's office. His also has a window looking down on the weight room.
One of the nice touches added with the new building will be two balconies, one outside Coach Mike Shula's office and the other to be built later in the middle of the old building. Shula will be able to entertain guests and recruits with a perfect view of the existing natural grass practice fields (in the middle distance). To the right, plans are to build a horizontal artificial turf field in the area where the old Tennis Stadium used to be, now being used by the construction crews. "We're leaning toward making it a turf field," Moore said. "It would be approximately 110 yards long and run horizontal to the existing fields." That big building in the background is the Crisp Indoor Practice Facility.
If he's so inclined, Mike Shula can sit comfortably and watch the workouts in the weight room below. This photo was taken from inside Coach Shula's new office.