Miami University can now claim to have the most modern athletic complex in the Mid-American Conference, debuting its newest facility in a ribbon-cutting ceremony inside the Dauch Indoor Sports Center Wednesday evening.
The new Athletic Performance Center, which is now joined to the Dauch Indoor Sports Center, has become the primary center for RedHawks football-related activities. It comes with a $25 million price tag.
MU athletic director David Sayler, believes that the completion of the new APC sends a message to the rest of the MAC that the ‘Hawks football program isn’t to be taken lightly in the future.
“I think we will be known for our football program,” Sayler said. “That’s certainly the goal of what we’re doing here and trying to accomplish, and giving Chuck [Martin] and his staff the resources to be successful.”
Head football coach, Chuck Martin, believes the new home for the football team reflects the administration’s desire to take Miami football to new heights:
“It shows a commitment that we’re serious about winning football games.”
A vital part of the process that was the construction and opening of this building was getting the donors of the project to buy-in to the vision that was shared by everyone associated with Miami football.
“It was getting donors to believe that we need the help now. A lot of them said, ‘I want to be the icing on the cake, I want to, in the end, be the one that comes in and helps you.’ I was like, ‘I’m not even ready for icing, we need the batter,’” Sayler said. “The donors stepped up and they believe in that vision. They believe in what we can put together here.”
Momentum surrounding MU football is as high as its been in recent memory. Following a season that saw them set an NCAA record for being the first team to finish 6-6 after starting 0-6 and their first bowl appearance since 2010—a contest that saw them fall, 17-16, against Mississippi State University—it’s no wonder that there’s optimism radiating throughout the program.
This record-finish for the ‘Hawks allowed the university to capitalize on the program’s momentum.
“For this year to turn the way it did, that’s just made it even better because the donors have seen where we started—we raised $43 million and won five football games the first two years. So, they want to start seeing progress, and they saw that,” Sayler said.
As of now, the APC has been purposed to support the softball, tennis and field hockey teams, in addition to football. While the center’s capabilities have been maxed out at four teams, all teams on campus have access to the medical rooms.
Once visitors enter the new center, they are faced with an array of amenities that include an auditorium, war room, coach’s offices, a tunnel to the field—as the center is close to Yager Stadium—and a brand-new weight room for athletes.
While the center provides a great place for athletic success, it’s unnoticed impact on the academics of the student-athletes here at Miami is unparalleled.
“It makes their life easier. We were looking at it: they waste 40 minutes a day with the old setup, going up to academics, the weight room, and back to shower. Now every thing’s right here and it saves them that time,” Sayler said.
There is plenty to be excited about in regards to the new APC from an outsider’s perspective, but from an athlete’s point-of-view, the upgraded facilities are a welcomed sight.
“This place is unbelievable. Having everything in one spot — obviously the way it looks — its untouchable by almost every school in the country, let alone the MAC,” junior tight end Nate Becker said.
Jordan Diamond, who is an offensive guard and an Auburn University transfer who was recently granted his sixth season of eligibility, couldn’t agree more.
“We got some good stuff, here at Miami,” Diamond said. “We got some great stuff. It’s the best stuff I’ve seen.”
Coming off of a season that saw so much success for the program, this newest facility is indicative of the mood around the program — the players think it will translate to even more on-field success for not just next year, but the foreseeable future.
“This is one of the best places in the country, it can’t be touched. The players that will be brought in from it [The APC] is crazy, and I think we already have a great team now,” Becker said.
With the addition of the APC, it’s clear that Miami football is trying to take the next step in the college football universe.
“I see us being in a New Year’s Day bowl game. That’s our goal. That’s our plan — to be that team like Western Michigan this year when they got into the Cotton Bowl,” Sayler said. “There’s no reason that Miami can’t accomplish that feat.”