University of Minnesota athletics launched a new fundraising campaign this week in an effort to improve and build better practice facilities.
The campaign is called "Nothing Short of Greatness."
Former Gophers quarterback and Super Bowl winning head coach Tony Dungy is helping the campaign by explaining why Minnesota's current facilities are outdated.
"When I came in 1973... it was an impressive building for me. It was state of the art. When I visited other Big Ten schools, when I went to Notre Dame, I saw the same type of facilities," Dungy said. "But as I go around the country now and speak, I see different places - when I'm at University of Alabama or Auburn or Oregon, I see facilities that are really, really more able to help these student-athletes."
Last July, Gophers athletics director Norwood Teague unveiled a master facilities plan designed to generate $190 million. Thanks to a generous $21 million donation from Land 'O Lakes in early September, fundraising efforts have raised $40 million, according to the Star Tribune.
Minnesota's current athletic building, the Bierman Field Athletic Building – serving 750 student-athletes – isn't even close to the size of competing Big Ten schools.
The Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex is the University's indoor facility, but it's anything but a football-only building. The athletics department says that on a given day last spring, the facility was booked by soccer, softball, baseball, track and field and football all but two hours of the day from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The master facilities plan includes four major facilities, including a Student-Athletic Center for Excellence, Football Development Center, Basketball Development Center, and Olympic Sports Development Centers.
Click here to see photos of each proposed facility.
The campaign's home page at GopherSports.com includes videos from student-athletes, coaches and former Gopher greats explaining why better facilities are so important. Here are a few.