Ubben Expansion and Renovation

Josh Whitman and Illini Sports Training Facilities

What I find really encouraging as an Illinois sports fan is that Whitman has only been on the job for a couple years and he has initiated significant upgrades to the training facilities of almost every sport. He understands that to ensure the consistent success of a program you need competitive training facilities and that needs to come before upgrades to fan amenities. Indeed, it doesn't matter how nice the competition venue is, nobody is going to show up if the team is consistently bad.

Tennis and Golf already had top-notch facilities when Whitman took over. If the plans for the downtown Hockey, Volleyball, Wrestling and Gymnastics complex come to fruition (we should know by the end of the year), then the current athletics director will have addressed all sports with the possible exception of Swimming and Diving (their facilities have been improved, but are still sub-par compared to the rest of the conference, I believe).

Here is a summary of the plans for each sport, as well as the existing facilities that have been upgraded in the recent past:



Track and Soccer

Baseball and Softball (Scroll down)

Volleyball, Wrestling and Gymnastics (Scroll down)



Swimming and Diving
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I'd like to see more of the plans and layouts for this project. Sounds cool.

How much of the $30 million do you think they have raised already?
Also, I didn’t see a timetable as to when it will (if approved, etc.) be completed, or started. Or if there are phases when those phases would be started and completed.
I am glad that Whitman is making these investments, particularly to the two major revenue sports. They definitely are needed to keep up with the Joneses, and maybe even pass some of them.

It is unfortunate that a fairly successful baseball program is stuck with a way below average stadium, but that's the way it goes with non-revenue sports when the revenue sports are suffering. If Lovie is ever able to start filling Memorial Stadium with some consistency, that will be a HUGE help. We desperately need the football program to start generating winning seasons. Whitman gets this.
Whitman is the real thing.

Underwood is having a bad time, so they push this announcement up to change the narrative and get some positive headlines.

And its not just playing the media game, the construction of the football facility, which was separated from the south end zone to dedicate the money to the team rather than luxury playgrounds for donors, is already underway.

Illinois sports is in worse shape than ever, but for a very refreshing change we have quality leadership in place to get to work fixing it.
I'm excited about this announcement. I think a lot of folks underestimate how much recruiting has been hurt by poor facilities over the past few years. I hope they make it happen sooner rather than later.
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A fountain = big time.

I'm sure they already have a major donor lined up for support, otherwise they wouldn't have announced it. Ironically, there's a big event up in Chicago this week/weekend...