Mark Richt introduced as UM head football coach
The University of Miami is inching closer to building an indoor practice facility for the football program.
Multiple sources familiar with the plans told the Miami Herald that coaches are informing prospective recruits about the facility, and renderings of the future project have also been made available to current players by coach Mark Richt.
“Coach Richt told me about it and said it’s going where the practice field is now,” said Brian Polendey, a 2017 tight end commit out of Denton, Texas.
“He said it’s going to be really impressive and that it will be a multiyear project. It shows that he cares about making this program the best it can possibly be.”
According to the sources, it will be a full-scale indoor facility that will include a weight room as well as coaches’ offices.
Initial costs will be between $20 million and $30 million. School officials are still in the process of raising funds, and the timetable for the start of construction is not yet known.
A source told the Miami Herald that a large contribution is expected during the current UM #BuildingChampions Spring Tour, which ends next Friday in New York City with Richt and Miami athletic director Blake James.
If the contribution occurs, UM could make the announcement at that point.
UM is the only Atlantic Coast Conference school without an indoor facility or a publicly announced plan for one. Boston College unveiled its plans in February, and North Carolina released its plans last November.
Miami in-state rival Florida State opened its indoor facility in 2013, and the University of Florida unveiled its facility in August 2015.
In the past, the Hurricanes have had several Greentree Field practices canceled because of rain and/or lightning. In those cases, the team usually worked out nearby at the university’s Wellness Center.
The hope for the projected facility is that it will not only negate the possibility of practices being wiped out, but also enhance Miami’s image with recruits as indoor facilities have become the norm in today’s college football landscape.
Said wide receiver Kevaughn Dingle of Miami Carol City High, a 2017 commit: “It’s going to make me even more excited about my commitment when they get the indoor facility. That will make my commitment even stronger, and I’ve been thinking about how they need one.”
The need for an indoor facility was heightened on March 30, when Miami’s Pro Day was hampered by torrential rain, which caused the workouts to be shortened. Players were forced to run through drills in front of NFL scouts in wet, sloppy conditions.
“It was sad, really,” Richt, who attended the UM combine, told reporters the next day. “It was sad that it was a downpour at the moment they needed to be able to show what they could do.
“They fought through the adversity, and I think the pro scouts appreciated that and saw that. I did like how they handled adversity. That’s part of the evaluation process.
“[But] not to have a place where they could have the type of day that they’ve been working so hard for, for so long — not only from the end of the season to now, but really their whole life they’re waiting for that opportunity — was just tough on them.”
James, who considers the indoor facility a priority, told the Miami Herald last month: “That’s been No. 1 on my list for a year and a half.”
Miami Herald sportswriter Susan Miller Degnan contributed to this report.