From 1955 to 2002 Cole Field House was known primarily as the home of the Maryland basketball teams. That all changed Wednesday.
The University of Maryland College Park and University of Maryland Baltimore cut the ribbon on the completion of the new Cole Field House Performance Center, which is the new indoor practice facility for the Terps football team.
“Kids in our area know that they’re going to get the best of the best here,” said Terps Head Football Coach DJ Durkin. “Education-wise, facility-wise, they’re going to get the best of the best.”
The football portion of New Cole completes phase one of a $155 million renovation project. Officials also broke ground Wednesday on phase two, which includes adding the center for sports medicine and other research hubs to the building.
“Athletics is the front porch of a University. What the new Cole Field House will do is a 21st Century porch that brings together not just athletics, but is integrated with neuroscience, research on the brain, brain recovery and larger human health,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh.
Phase two is expected to be completed by next summer with an expected opening in early 2019.
By chance Durkin arrived to Wednesday morning’s event at the same time as former Terps men’s basketball coach Gary Williams, who had so many great games inside the historic venue. They were able to walk into New Cole together, which served as a sort of symbolic passing of the torch.
“As we started walking in the building I know he was emotional about it, but I got emotional about it. Just how important this building was,” said Durkin. “This was Gary’s home for a long time. My memories, a lot of memories, are of him on that sideline up and down and coaching the team. It was just special.”
“I told DJ he could put a couple baskets up behind the goal posts. That would be fine,” joked Williams. “I was really worried about what they were going to do with this building. Whether they’d tear it down or build classroom buildings here or whatever. The idea that they did this is just tremendous.”
The football team plans on holding walk-throughs and stretching on their new indoor field during this year’s training camp and practicing inside New Cole as the weather dictates.