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The Davison Athletics Complex is really something special," said Head Football Coach Skip Holtz. "It has been a long time coming. The players are really appreciative and excited to have the opportunity to be in it."
Long time coming is an understatement. Derek Dooley was credited by committee chairman Steve Davison at the press conference as one of the first people involved in the project who helped get it off the ground. Recruits in 2008 were shown sketches of what the building might be and were told they would be in it by the time they graduated. Dooley left in 2010 and those 2008 recruits mostly finished playing in 2012.
The economic downturn in 2008 and 2009 left the project in limbo and seemed to almost knock it completely off the rails. However, Davison and the Quest for Excellence committee (formed in 2010) reinvigorated the project and saw it through.
"Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment by so many different people," said Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland. "When I was hired, it was made very clear to me that this building was the No.1 priority for athletics. It has been a labor of love for so many individuals, from donors to contractors to architects to our student-body to university and athletic staff. From all of the input we have received so far, it exceeds everyone's expectations."
In college football, facilities are the biggest driver in recruiting and it takes talent to win football games. To keep up with teams in both the surrounding region and in Conference USA, Louisiana Tech had to step up to the plate. The Davison Athletics Complex not only puts LA Tech on par with its peers; it actually drives Tech ahead in the facilities race.
Livonia, LA Defensive End Willie Baker recently committed to Louisiana Tech despite having offers from SEC schools. Baker had toured the new facilities and compared them favorably to those of larger schools that he had visited over the summer.
After surviving for over a decade in the far flung Western Athletic Conference, Louisiana Tech's two biggest recruiting negatives have been erased. Tech no longer lags in football facilities and the long trips to San Jose and Idaho, where recruits families can't see them play, are no longer factors.
Louisiana Tech is in the middle of one the deepest recruiting territories in the nation. Similar to what Southern Miss did in the previous decade, Louisiana Tech should be able attract high level talent that lives within a few hours' drive of the campus and compete at the highest level of Conference USA.
From the player's lounge, to the new locker room, and to the new weight room; the DAC is extremely nice. It won't take long to see it begin to pay dividends with National Signing Day coming up in February.
Inside the new locker room.
Inside the new player's lounge.