May 7, 2012
WASHINGTON - When McDonough Gymnasium opened in 1951, it housed nine intercollegiate athletic teams and just over 250 student-athletes who competed for teams at Georgetown University. Fast forward to 2012 and the same building is the main base for 29 intercollegiate athletic teams and 750 student-athletes who compete in the BIG EAST Conference.
Last weekend in Chicago, members of the Georgetown University Department of Athletics, along with University Advancement staff, met with more than 125 alumni and supporters to outline the future of Georgetown Athletics as part of the For Generations to Come campaign, which was publicly launched last fall.
One of the main scopes of the For Generations to Come campaign is to raise $125 million for athletics, with $65 million of that total specifically earmarked for infrastructure improvements. Most of that goal is for the construction of the Intercollegiate Athletics Center (IAC), which received a 5-0 unanimous approval from the D.C. Zoning Commission on April 26, which will be built adjacent to McDonough Gymnasium.
As part of John Carroll Weekend, Bob Nolan, the chairman of the Boards of Regents Athletics Committee, moderated a panel at famed Wrigley Field. Among the speakers on the panel were Paul Tagliabue, Chair of the Georgetown Board of Trustees and a former men's basketball player, Head Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III, former Hoya All-American and current NBA standout Jeff Green, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed and Bill Doyle (C'72), a member of the Board of Directors at Georgetown and Chair of the For Generations to Come Steering Committee.
Hosted by Brendan Carroll (C'99), member of the Board of Regents Athletics Committee, the panel spoke at length on a number of topics, from a current snapshot of athletics at Georgetown to the breadth and depth of the For Generations to Come campaign and to the needs for a new facility and the challenges that the Georgetown men's and women's basketball teams, as well as other Hoyas athletics teams, face while competing in one of the toughest conferences in the country.
"This was an extremely informative event," Carroll said. "There were a lot of people in that room who didn't understand the story of not only what it (the Intercollegiate Athletics Center) can do for basketball, but what it can do for all of our sports. It's not just about a practice facility, it's about everything that comes with it, from study halls to locker rooms, and rooms for sports medicine and athletic training. It was very educational for people to understand what this building can provide for all of our future student-athletes.
"There were probably a lot of people there who didn't realize the last time Georgetown built something for athletics was in 1951 and to have the people present there, from Mr. Tagliabue to Bob Nolan and University staff, spoke of the importance of the Intercollegiate Athletics Center."
The IAC will be approximately 130,000-square feet of newly constructed space and will house practice courts, locker rooms, team meeting rooms, lounge areas and coaches' offices for men's and women's basketball, as well as weight training facilities and a sports medicine/training room for all varsity student-athletes.
"This is not a want or a luxury, this is a necessity," Reed said. "It is about delivering on a promise to all students and about investing in athletics for years to come."
Thompson, who has led the Georgetown men's basketball team to the NCAA Tournament in six of the last eight years and has had the Hoyas stand as one of the best programs in the nation's toughest conference, the BIG EAST, spoke of the challenges of competing with other institutions from a facility standpoint.
"It's the most important thing for us right now," Thompson said. "It is the highest priority capital project for the University, and it will take everyone in our community stepping up to make it a reality as soon as possible."
Green, who has been in the NBA for four years with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Boston Celtics after earning All-American honors at Georgetown and leading the Hoyas to the 2007 Final Four, spoke about the need for the facility from the perspective of the student-athlete, recalling times when the basketball team would be getting ready for practice and multiple teams would be either coming and going.
"I was one of those kids who came to Georgetown because of the tradition of this program and the school," Green said. "A lot of players will look at the facilities and that's a major part of it today. There were many times when I was there that we were caught in rush hour in the training room and that area. It's a major part of what kids will look at when they are going through the evaluation process."