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Facility upgrade elevates IU football

Recruits love weight room, 1 of nation's largest, Lynch says.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 - 6:10 am

BLOOMINGTON – You bet Bill Lynch is pumped. Indiana’s football coach is about to get a level recruiting playing field because the Hoosiers’ Model T-facility era is almost over.

Sure, Memorial Stadium’s North End Zone addition is still several months from completion, but enough is done to suggest IU is ready to join the big boys.

Nobody is suggesting this project – part of a $55 million upgrade in athletic facilities — will push the Hoosiers past Michigan or Ohio State or Notre Dame, but it will give coaches a fighting chance.

“It’s a significant improvement,” Lynch said.

The weight room will go from 4,500 square feet to 25,000. A million dollars worth of weight and cardio equipment will be installed. There will be enough meeting rooms and projector screens and see-the-world windows to demonstrate that IU means business with its football program.

And that doesn’t include the state-of-the-art scoreboard atop the state-of-the-art Hall of Champions that will be the largest banquet facility on campus (a capacity of 500) while displaying Glory of Old IU memorabilia.

“This is huge in recruiting,” Lynch said. “Young people like new things. It’s the WOW factor.

“This is a first-class facility. It shows there’s a great commitment to football at Indiana University.”

If everything goes as planned, and Pepper Construction official Bob Louzon said there’s no reason to think it won’t, the North End Zone addition will be finished by Aug. 1. Freshmen football players report for summer camp on Aug. 5. Everybody else reports Aug. 6.

“It’s an amazing building,” Lynch said. “It was well thought out.”

The weight room will rank among the largest in the nation, a fact Lynch and his staff mention early and often to recruits.

“We tell recruits it’s the biggest,” he said with a smile.

Those smiles are duplicated by the players who will soon be lifting in it.

“They say it will be like lifting at Menards or Lowe’s,” Lynch said.

The addition will include offices for football coaches and athletic department officials. All have windows, something that isn’t true in the current football complex under Memorial Stadium’s east stands. Some of the offices overlook the Memorial Stadium field. Some overlook the practice field and Mellencamp Pavilion.

“The biggest thing will be to decide which coaches get to look out at the stadium from their offices and which look out at the practice field,” Lynch said. “I guess we’ll have to flip a coin.”

Lynch won’t flip. His 1,100 square foot office has a patio that provides a dramatic view of Memorial Stadium.

Construction continues on the basketball practice facility next to Assembly Hall. That’s set to be finished by the end of December.