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UVMMENSLACROSSE  December 2004

UVMMENSLACROSSE December 2004

Subject:

Vermont Looks to Enhance Student-Athlete Experience

From:

UVM Sports Information <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

UVM Mens Lacrosse <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Dec 2004 15:54:28 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (150 lines)

Vermont Looks to Enhance Student-Athlete Experience
December 9, 2004

Photo Gallery Link: http://www.uvm.edu/athletics/?Page=upgradesphotogallery.html

A cultural change is taking place on the athletic campus at the University of
Vermont that is helping to enhance the experience for all student-athletes. The
University of Vermont's athletic program has gone through many changes over the
past three years that entail new staff, a new attitude and now new and upgraded
facilities.

On March 24, a tier system that set different expectations per sport and
allocated resources accordingly, was eliminated. A new plan is now in place
that involves further realignment of programs, increased scholarship support,
more recreational sports opportunities and enhanced operational and recruiting
budgets. The goal is to maintain the enviable record of academic excellence
among student-athletes while aggressively pursuing a higher level of success
athletically.

The next step in the process was to upgrade the facilities and venues where the
teams compete.

“Last year the Athletic Department began a strategic planning process that
continues today.  Part of that plan and one of our highest priorities as a
Department is to provide Vermont athletic teams and student-athletes with first
class practice and competition facilities which will assist them in reaching
their full potential.” said senior associate athletic director Jeff Schulman.

The following are some of the improvements and new projects that have been
completed or are planned:

-A new state-of-the-art, all-weather artificial turf field is being built, which
will be the home of the University's field hockey and men's and women's
lacrosse teams. The field will be located in the northeast corner of the Archie
Post Athletic Complex and will replace the existing outdoor track. The project
is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2005. Construction of the new
field has begun due to a major gift from Rey Moulton and Betsy Winder of
Manchester, Massachusetts. Betsy Winder is the mother of first-year
student-athlete Stirling Auchincloss Winder '08, who plays field hockey for the
Catamounts. The all-weather turf field allows spring sports to start practice
outdoors much sooner instead of practicing indoors on the concrete floor of the
indoor tennis facility. The turf field is part of master plan to transfer the
Archie Post complex into a state-of-the-art athletic facility that will also
include an outdoor nine-lane running track, a 4,000-seat stadium for soccer,
and space for concession stands, picnicking and rest rooms.

“The turf field is going elevate the program and really say to the team, alumni,
recruits and the community that Catamount field hockey is a highly competitive
program that the university really supports,” said field hockey coach Nicki
Houghton. “The athletes are so excited to have a place to call home that they
can have tremendous pride in. The field will give them the home field advantage
that no athlete on this current field hockey team has ever experienced at UVM.
It's a huge move for our program.”

-In an effort to better serve students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus, a
new parking garage is being built. The new Gutterson Parking Structure will be
located at the north end of the existing parking area of the
Patrick-Forbush-Gutterson Athletic Complex. The project includes the design and
construction of a parking structure to accommodate the 765 existing parking
spaces, adding up to 550 new parking spaces and vastly improving the parking
situation for events in the Athletic Complex.

-Upgrades to Patrick Gym that include a newly refinished and painted floor with
Vermont's V-Cat logo, upgrades in lighting and the sound system, and two new
scoreboards.

-Gutterson Fieldhouse, home of the men's and women's hockey teams, has also had
its sound system upgraded, while the benches, penalty box and scorekeeper areas
have also been reconfigured.

-Work has been done on the soccer and baseball fields at Centennial Field as
well. The soccer teams have had their locker room refinished, and a
groundskeeper has now been hired to help keep the field in great shape, while
the baseball diamond was re-graded and new sod was put down in September. UVM
alum Lee Keller '84, was hired as the groundskeeper for Centennial and Post
Fields. Keller formerly was the groundskeeper for the Vermont Expos and has
worked on George Toma's crews at several Super Bowls.

“The field has really been improved and the new locker room at the field is a
'special' place for us,” said men's soccer head coach and former Catamount
soccer player, Jesse Cormier. “We are very fortunate to be in an athletic
department that genuinely cares about our program and has worked very hard to
accommodate our needs.”

-UVM is in the process of looking into building a new arena on campus, where
both the basketball and hockey teams would play. The Catamounts would be a
tenant in the new building that would benefit not just the University of
Vermont, but also the state as a whole, as well as northern New York and
southern Quebec. Vermont is the only state in the country that does not
currently have some kind of civic center and if the new facility were built, it
would help draw events and different types of entertainment to the area. The
early plans on the potential structure would look to hold 6,500 for hockey
games and 7,500 for basketball, and would also include new team locker rooms
and a weight facility.

-The strength and conditioning program recently hired a full-time assistant to
work with Paul Goodman, who is Vermont's strength and conditioning coordinator.
Justin Smith will assist Goodman with hands-on training, testing evaluation and
protocol, and program design and implementation. With two members in the
department, support will only increase for the varsity student-athletes on
campus.

-New full-time assistant coaches were hired for teams that previously never had
them, such as field hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, softball, baseball,
track and field, women's hockey and swimming. This goes hand-in-hand with the
elimination of the tier system, as it helps to provide more adequate
operational assistance to teams.

The projects and upgrades that are taking place are an expensive process that
require funding. One of the first steps that Vermont took to help tackle this
was by launching The Victory Club, an all-encompassing group that provides
financial and community support for all UVM varsity athletic programs, on April
13, 2004. The Victory Club helps provide financial support for athletic
scholarships, operating enhancements and special projects as the UVM athletic
department moves forward with its strategic plan.

Part of the funding needed comes from enhanced and generous contributions to the
Victory Club, but the Catamounts have also seen an increase in sponsorship,
which has gone from $123,000 a year to $400,000 in the last 18 months. The
athletic department is joining with strong brand names and has already seen
results, as souvenir sales are up 400 percent from where they have been at any
other time in history.

“We are trying to increase the competitive metabolism of the university,” said
Assistant Vice President for Marketing & Business Development Chris McCabe.
“Everything we do is aimed at maximizing our potential for a first-class
student experience.”

Along with new coaches and fields, the changes taking place at UVM are also
geared towards create a better fan experience. A new logo was designed that
helps create a brand identity and helps show fans uniformity between all the
athletic teams. At Patrick Gym, there is now a branch of the UVM bookstore,
which sells Catamount apparel and a new concession area located in the hallway
adjacent to the gym that has created a less-congested lobby prior to and at
halftime of games. A pep band, led by Bob Levis, was formed and plays at men's
hockey games. For all the improvements made on campus, the Cats will also
notice a difference when they travel this season on the two Lamoille Valley
Transit repainted buses that bear the Catamount logo and UVM colors.

Vermont has always been an attractive university to attend and has even enticed
such professional teams as the New York Rangers and Boston Celtics to take part
in training camps on campus. With the latest upgrades and projects planned, the
University of Vermont's athletic department is heading in an organized and
exciting direction for the future.




Vermont Athletic Communications

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