Football program gets new practice facility and coaches
Bricks and Mortar
As a mid-March snow fell during the first day of spring football practice, the George Welsh Indoor Practice Facility was put to use right away. Coach Mike London moved his team out of the raw weather and into the new 80,000-square-foot building, named in honor of UVA's winningest coach (Welsh compiled a 134-86-3 record during his 19 years at Virginia).
Built at a cost of $13 million and funded entirely by private donations, the facility contains a full-size football field that will be used by football and other teams during inclement weather. Twelve large garage doors can be opened to connect the indoor space to the adjoining McCue Practice Field, which was upgraded with a new playing surface, video board, lighting and play clock.
Many of the facility's features are designed to help Cavalier teams improve their practice and game performance:
Four fixed high-definition remote cameras record practices in the facility, with another three cameras for the field outdoors.
A 65-foot-high ceiling allows plenty of room for kicking and passing.
The FieldTurf Revolution playing surface contains 132 tons of rubber pellets.
Outside, a sand-pit training area contains 400 tons of sand, or 17 dump-truck loads. Drills in the sand help players develop explosive strength, speed and vertical leap.
X's and O's
The practice facility isn't the only thing new for Virginia football this year. After a 4-8 season, the coaching staff welcomed four new assistant coaches who bring a combined 135 years of coaching experience.