Norwood Teague runs one of the only Big Ten athletics departments that still need annual appropriations from its University to break even.
The first-year athletics director said his master facilities plan, to be unveiled in mid-April, reflects that.
“We’ve traveled around to a lot of facilities that are maybe a little over the top,” Teague said at a press conference on Thursday. “I don’t know if we need to do that.”
One of Teague’s first orders when he took the job in June was to implement a facilities plan – a way to reprioritize and fulfill Gophers’ facility needs.
A primary need, echoed by Coach Tubby Smith, is a men’s basketball practice facility, Teague said.
Five Big Ten schools – Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska and Purdue – have added one since 2010 and Ohio State plans to open its $13.7 million practice facility in June. Nebraska’s Hendricks Training Complex cost $18.7 million when it was built two years ago.
“That’s not a want. That’s a need,” Teague said about a practice facility at Minnesota. “It’ll happen. It’s just a matter of when.”
Teague said his administration is in the “back third” of finalizing the facilities plan, but one of the most important variables is still unsolved – funding.
“The money to raise is out there,” Teague said. “Mid-April we can solidify everything. Then we’d like to go around the state, already have a caravan planned, tour planned to unveil that. [We’ll] really go around and shake hands, renew and rejuvenate pride of Gophers athletics.”
Money is tight at Minnesota and the Gophers near-$80 million budget is on the low end of Teague’s estimates as to what this plan will cost. Teague said anywhere from $80 to $125 million is “in the realm” of what the Gophers are looking to spend.
But Teague reiterated that there is a lot of evaluating left to do, adding “we don’t want to go crazy and spend in a way that’s going to be unwise.”
“The next month is going to be key in bringing that all together,” Teague said.
Minnesota recently completed a $1 million renovation to its Gibson-Nagurski football complex, including remodeling the football locker room that was not a part of this facilities plan.
Williams Arena is on the list, but Teague was adamant about remodeling the near 90-year-old arena instead of replacing it.
“I’ve seen, when you move arenas and leave your classic place, it hurts in many ways,” Teague said. “We’ll do some touch ups, but I don’t think we’ll need to blow up the inner bowl.”
“It’s too classic; too historical; too much a part of the state,” Teague said.