Johnson: New Day for TCU basketball

TCU announced Wednesday that after 52 years, they would upgrade Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Athletics director Chris Del Conte and head coach Trent Johnson talk about what the significant upgrade means for the program.

Trent Johnson ended his radio show Wednesday evening with the words, "It's a new day for TCU basketball."

The phrase new day signifies the expectations that will subsequently come upon Johnson and his program as they announce the best signing class in the history of the school and also announce a $45 million upgrade to their relic of an arena.

In a press release today, Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said, "Having the opportunity to renovate Daniel-Meyer Coliseum helps TCU achieve its ongoing goal of optimizing its physical campus."

After Ed and Rae Schollmaier pledged $10 million to upgrade Daniel-Meyer Coliseum (built 1961), TCU announced the interior of the coliseum would have a lower playing surface to increase court-side seating. The upgrades will also feature new locker rooms, team meeting rooms, and medical facilities for the basketball teams.

A source told me Wednesday that Trent Johnson and the rest of his staff did not even show prospective recruits the locker room this past season because it simply did not meet the standard of other Big 12 facilities.

"At some point, we as administrators had to point to ourselves and ask ourselves are we providing all the tools necessary to help our coaches be successful," said Christopher del Conte, Director of Athletics.

Del Conte said he hopes that the announced upgrades will resolve the questions that recruits ask about how dedicated TCU is to having a winning basketball program.

"For men's basketball and women's basketball, we have not done a lot of things in 60 years," Del Conte explained. "If we want to be successful and want to be in the tournament every year, we have to make an investment to our basketball program not only in recruiting but also financially."

Chris Del Conte said TCU has an important opportunity to have two substantial revenue generating sports, football and mens basketball.

Also in the upgraded DMC will be a TCU Athletics Hall of Fame display on the concourse level, offices for Olympic sports staff, and a larger main ticket office to support both DMC and Amon G. Carter Stadium.

  Del Conte admitted that the choice to upgrade the facility was was much needed due to the outdated amenities that the coliseum currently boasts. "It was built in 1961. There is not a modern amenity to it. The concourses are tight; the locker rooms are not adequate, our medical service area, our fan amenities. If you have more than six people, it's a line just to get through the concourse."

"When we played Kansas here, there was a 45 minute wait to walk all the way downstairs and use the restroom. It is not built for today's modern student-athlete."

Throughout the course of his radio room this evening, head coach Trent Johnson repeatedly thanked Ed Schollmaier who sat with AD Chris Del Conte at the dinner.

The fact tht the renovations come during the Trent Johnson era is almost ironic because it is Johnson's attitude that "the rim is 10 feet everywhere, no matter where you play" that has made him successful.

Today he announced the signing of Hudson Price, a 6'6 shooting guard from Orlando, Florida. Johnson said Price is a strong guard who has seen it all in the basketball world. Coming from a family known for basketball, Johnson expects Price to complement well his other three signees.

However, Wednesday belonged to the news that TCU would give a much needed $45 million upgrade to its programs that needed it most.

"Having the fans we have now, they all want to come watch. Now if we put a product [on the floor] that has an opportunity to sustain success, we can be fantastic. We have won in basketball in the past, and we will win again, but with an antiquated stadium, we had to look within ourselves and ask who are we trying to bring in? Who are we trying to recruit?" Del Conte said.

"This is arguably our best recruiting class that we have had in a long long time. If we continue to build on that, I think kids will look here and say why leave the metroplex, let's just go to TCU."

And go to TCU they will because Trent Johnson expects it of himself to bring them here.

Johnson is not a patient guy. That's what makes him the perfect fit for TCU.

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