It makes you look like you’re ready for prime time. It attracts better athletes. It says you’re committed.
Rutgers is there.
The new practice complex, made possible by a gift from Jeff and Amy Towers and named after Rutgers All American tight end Marco Battaglia, was dedicated under relatively clear skies and comfortable temperatures, perhaps a positive omen for a long-suffering program, and before a large and appreciative crowd.
“I am proud to unveil the best practice facility in professional or college football today,” Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs said at the dedication ceremony. “From when I first started here after hiring Chris Ash, we realized that this was a project that needed to be done. Now thanks to the generosity of Jeff and Amy Towers and the hard work of many, this complex is not only complete, but unparalleled. It will greatly impact our program as we continue to build a championship contender in the Big Ten.”
The upgraded practice facility, part of the “R Big Ten Build’ fundraising initiative, features two new grass fields; complete with rebuilt drainage and a new irrigation system as well as a state-of-the-art LED lighting system. In addition to the functional improvements, the practice complex also includes a new entranceway, fencing around the perimeter and redesigned landscaping throughout the facility.
In addition to the actual practice areas, the complex also features plaques honoring those from Rutgers - both players and coaches - who are in the college football Hall of Fame (above) as well as pylons with smaller plaques recognizing Rutgers All Americans.
At present, during preseason camp, the team is practicing on the Livingston campus fields at the softball and baseball complex.
“The Hunt” - including preseason camp - will continue at the Battaglia Complex.
A brief fundraising campaign was created just about a week ago by long-time fan/supporter Jon Newman to raise $81,000 to honor number 81. And last night the goal was reached.
NOTE: This story was edited to correct misinfornation regarding use of the new complex prior to the end of preseason camp.
On the Banks will update this story with additional photos, quotes, and comments over the next few hours.