Stegeman Coliseum Training Facility Opens

Dennis Felton

ATHENS – Georgia will cut the ribbon today on its $30 million Stegeman Coliseum training facility, marking the first facilities project completion under athletics director Damon Evans and one heck of an upgrade in working space for women's basketball coach Andy Landers.

In his 28 years of leading the Lady Bulldogs, Landers has had no fewer than eight offices and, until now, none of them have been the kind of place you want to bring company.

He has shared an office with two football coaches, including Erk Russell; shared space withthree men's basketball coaches; moved to a trophy room with five other head coaches, an assistant coach and two secretaries, and taken back up with five assistant coaches for male sports.

"I spent a short stint in the nurses station off the concourse of the coliseum," Landers said. "Finally, I went down to a restroom on the floor level. I was there for five or six or seven years."

Now Landers goes to work in a gleaming, 120,000-square foot facility attached to the back of Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia's coaches have been in their offices since early this summer, but the athletes for men's and women's basketball and gymnastics only recently were able to move in.

"I'm being truthful when I tell you this, I've never dreaded coming to work, but driving towork in the morning and walking into this place excited me after 28 years of being here," Landers said. "It's easily the most exciting thing that we've done for our basketball program in our last 28 years."

The men's and women's basketball teams have their own full-length practice courts, and the gymnastics team has a 16,000-square foot practice gym. Each sport also has coaches' offices, locker rooms and lounges in the building. The new weight room is three times the size of the one previously used by the Georgia's Olympic sports teams.

"Ashley Houts' mother told me that Ashley said nobody in the country has got a better practice facility than us," Landers said. "She said, ‘How do you know that Ashley?' She said, ‘I just know. They can't.'"

The facility already has been a help in men's basketball recruiting, Coach Dennis Felton said.

"It was a great symbol of the fact that we're committing to basketball here at the university," he said. "It will be the best facility of its type in the country, in college or the NBA, so we're really excited about it."

Now that the building is open to the public, its recruiting value will at least double, Felton said.

"As hard as we worked at painting that picture," he said, "still in their wildest imagination, I don't think they'd picture how spectacular this is."

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