A player has to love the game. “That’s big,” according to Matt Dudek, who serves as Rich Rodriguez’s director of recruiting. “We want the guy who, if we call a practice for 3 a.m., he’s there at 2:15, ready to go and calling his teammates to hurry up and get there. That’s our kinda guy.”
But transforming a group of players into a team is a work of science, art, and luck. As most sports fans understand, nurturing team chemistry is important and can make or break a season.
One strategy behind building the shiny new Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, according to Rodriguez, is to support recruiting efforts. It also undoubtedly helps build team chemistry.
“We want to get to the Rose Bowl, we want to be able to compete for championships in football. This is the foundation to give us that chance,” says Greg Byrne, vice president for Arizona Athletics.
With accents of copper, including a glistening copper “A,” Lowell-Stevens — the towering five stories at the north end of the now-enclosed Arizona Stadium — is a monument to what college football is in the 21st century. It is also a testament to Arizona’s willingness to not only keep up in the ever-escalating facilities race, but to get out in front.
The team and coaches can now practice, eat, play, and study, all in one location. The Lowell-Stevens weight room is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art equipment, overlooked by a cardio mezzanine, not to mention wall-to-wall speakers. Wildcat football players will have access to a medical center, meeting rooms, a dining hall, a players’ lounge with a ping pong table and video games, a computer center for academics, and a 120-seat auditorium with seats spacious enough for linemen to take a nap. It will also have the only escalator on the UA campus.
Arizona football, going up!
When one of the best high-school quarterbacks in Arizona prep history took to Twitter to announce that he was transferring from Texas to join RichRod’s team, his initial tweet was “Great facilities.” And ask any current player or coach about the new digs and you get an almost-Pavlovian response of wide eyes and involuntary smiles.