Nevada Adding $5M In Football Program Improvements

The University of Nevada is preparing to invest more money into the Wolfpack football program, including improvements to Mackay Stadium.

During the recent introductory press conference of new head football coach Ken Wilson, capital improvements for the Nevada football program were a central topic of conversation after former head coach Jay Norvell said the university’s lack of support in athletics was one of the reasons he left for Colorado State.

nevadaAccording to a report from Nevada SportsNet, the Wolfpack spend roughly $10.5 million annually on the football program as opposed to the Mountain West Conference average of $14.1 million. But all of that is about to change, according to Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth.

“There’s a narrative that’s out there right now about our program, about our support and investment in football, and a lot of the stuff I’m hearing out there isn’t accurate and it’s unfortunate,” Nevada athletic director Doug Knuth said in a sit-down interview with Nevada Sports Net and the Reno Gazette-Journal last Friday. “There’s inaccuracies out there.”

Below is a recap, compiled by Nevada SportsNet, of the details of capital improvements the Wolfpack are preparing for.

* New playing surface (roughly $1 million): Nevada last changed out the surface at Mackay Stadium prior to the 2010 season, and those FieldTurf fields typically have a maximum shelf life of around 10 years. The project will be completed after the Wolf Pack’s spring game, which is typically held in early May. “We’re trying to do our best to give our coaches the resources they need,” Knuth said. “We’ve been talking about this for over a year with the previous coaching staff, but we’re putting in a new turf this summer at Mackay Stadium, which is about a $1 million project. It’s a big deal for us.”

* Expanded player locker room (roughly $3 million): Nevada last renovated its locker room in June 2013 after Brian Polian was hired as head coach. That was a smaller remodel with a price tag of $200,000, with all of the lockers being ripped out and replaced with 115 new lockers as well as new carpeting, televisions, and a sound system. The media room also was turned into a players’ lounge. This summer’s renovation will be a much larger project, including an expansion of the locker room north toward the south end zone of Mackay Stadium. “The last year and a half, we’ve been designing and developing a brand new locker room to gut the entire locker room, to open up that space, push out the wall and go out north toward the stadium and create one big football locker room,” Knuth said. “It’s about a $3 million project, and that’s been fully funded by donors. That’s about a $3 million dollar project to build a big, nice, brand new football locker room, which is something we’ve needed for a long time. Previous coaches have talked about that need. We’re thrilled to finally get it done. Construction starts in March and will be done by June, so that’s exciting.”

* Renovated strength center (roughly $500,000): The Ramon Sessions Performance Center, which was opened in 2017, included a new strength and conditioning center for Wolf Pack athletics, but that facility is not used by the Nevada football team, which trains in Cashell Fieldhouse’s strength and conditioning center, which will get a facelift this summer, too. “Football has its own space, but it hasn’t been upgraded in decades, plural, and it’s time we do that,” Knuth said. “So we have about a $500,000 project to redo the floor. The flooring system is a big deal in a weight and strength area. We’ll have new equipment and redo that space so it becomes a recruiting asset.”

* Refreshed coaches offices (unknown cost): The Wolf Pack’s coaching offices at Cashell Fieldhouse also will get a new look with a refresh. “We had some donor support to refresh all the coaches offices,” Knuth said. “It’s not going to be a major construction project, but it will be an overhaul. It’ll be new carpet, lights and paint, wall graphics and computers, TVs on the walls and stuff. We were working with the previous coaching staff to design that and get that all ready to go. The timing of it, you can’t do it during the season. It’s hard to do it during the recruiting season. It’s hard to do it during spring ball. So we’re trying to do that in May and June to get that project done as well.”

To read the full story from Nevada SportsNet, click here.