MTSU announces $100 million athletic improvements project

MTSU President Dr. Sidney McPhee announces the university has secured funds for a $66 million project to build a new student-athlete performance center behind the north end zone of Floyd Stadium, as well as making stadium improvements, and will be the first of the three-phase, $100 million-plus plan to upgrade athletics facilities. EMILY COLE/MTSU ATHLETICS

Nov. 15, 2021, will go down as a monumental day in MTSU Blue Raider Athletics as the university has embarked on a three-phase plan to improve facilities for all 17 sports on campus.

The university announced it has secured funds for a $66 million project to build a new student-athlete performance center behind the north end zone of Floyd Stadium as well as making stadium improvements and will be the first of the three-phase, $100 million-plus plan to upgrade athletics facilities.

"Athletics is like a window, a front porch into a university," MTSU president (Dr.) Sidney McPhee said. It can bring national recognition to our state and our city. Think Michigan State and Minnesota."

Phase one of the plan is to build a Student Athlete Performance Center that will be adjacent to Murphy Center. The three-story building will house football offices, locker rooms, meeting rooms as football will be moved from Murphy Center into the new building. Also in the building will be strength and conditioning and training centers.

"This is a whole new era and a whole new world for Blue Raider athletics. We have 70 million dollars in the bank, and to date no taxpayer money has been used for the project," MTSU Trustees Board Chairman and Blue Raider Hall of Famer Steve Smith said.

Phase two of the project will be improvements to Murphy Center as it will turn 50 years old in 2022.

"I want to thank Dr. McPhee for his unwavering support as without that we would not be where we are today," MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro said.

"With the landscape of college athletics continuing to evolve, it's important that we position ourselves to attract and retain high-level student-athletes well into the future," MTSU men's basketball coach Nick McDevitt said. "The Build Blue Campaign and these transformational athletic facilities will help make that possible. It's exciting to know that the dream and vision, by many, of what this place can look like will soon be a reality."

"I am excited about the future of our athletic department and how this facility will impact every aspect of it," MTSU women's basketball coach Rick Insell added. "This is a win-win for everyone in that it will enhance the student-athlete experience as well as the fan experience in regard to renovations. We already have a great deal to offer at Middle Tennessee, and this will only add to it."

Massaro mentioned to the crowd in attendance the athletics program won more Conference USA championships than any other school last year, and these improvements would not only make MTSU compete at the conference level, but at a national level with other teams and conferences as well.

The final phase of the project will consist of an indoor practice facility for football and all of the other sports on campus to be able to train and practice regardless of the weather.

At the end of the announcement, football coach Rick Stockstill announced he and his wife Sara have made a $500,000 contribution to the project and added it was for every former and current player he has coached. He wants his current players to know when the project is completed their sacrifice helped make this possible and he loves, appreciates and respects everything they have done for the program.

"This project is a game changer for our program," Stockstill said. "This will be huge in recruiting and player development while playing an integral role in our program reaching its full potential. "This will be very rewarding for our current players and all the former players who sacrificed so much to make this happen. I am grateful to all of those who have made this possible."

Anyone wanting to contribute to the campaign can go to www.buildbluenow.com. You can also have naming rights, ranging from an individual player's locker all the way up to the Student Athlete Performance Center and everything in between.

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