Woolard: Indoor practice fieldhouse next on list
USF is just days away from completing a massive wave of faciliity upgrades with the Sun Dome renovations nearly finished, and USF athletic director Doug Woolard said Tuesday night that the next project on his list is an indoor practice facility, intended not only for Skip Holtz's football program but for other Bulls athletic teams as well.
"That's certainly on my radar screen, and I know it's on Skip's and our other coaches," Woolard said in Clearwater at the "Around the Horns" booster gathering at Island Way Grill. "Just so you know, we're not finished. We're going to continue. We've been on certainly a fast track, and we're not going to hit the pause button very long. We're going to continue to do this."
USF isn't looking for a "bubble" facility as many schools have, but an actual fieldhouse, big enough to house an entire 120-yard football field but also give an indoor practice option for other teams like soccer, softball and baseball during inclement weather. Such a facility, done the right way, would likely cost in the neighborhood of $14 million, and Woolard and his staff are now challenged with raising the funds to make that happen. The fieldhouse would likely go on the current site of USF's soccer practice fields, which are directly east of USF's Morsani Football Practice Complex, which opened in fall 2010.
"It could be utilized by all our sport programs," Woolard said. "The reason we want to do that is to make sure we don't miss days of practice during the season because of inclement weather. Other institutions are doing that."
-- Other notes: USF's men's basketball team and coach Stan Heath were honored with a proclamation by the Hillsborough County Commission -- which also recognized USF President Judy Genshaft -- at Wednesday's morning meeting.
-- USF women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez mentioned one schedule tidbit -- the Bulls will take part in the ACC-Big East Challenge next season, playing a game at Clemson.
-- First athletic event in the new Sun Dome? USF's annual athletics auction, the benefits of which help pay for athletic scholarships, will be on may 12 in the newly renovated arena -- tickets are $150, with the event starting at 6 p.m. ...