YurView New England recently got a behind-the-scenes tour of Providence College’s new Ruane Athletic Development Center.
With Friars’ assistant coach Brian Blaney showing us around the building we were also able to meet with head coach Ed Cooley, athletic director Bob Driscoll, architect Perkins Eastman, head strength & conditioning coach Ken White, and senior associate athletic director for health and wellness John Rock.
By the time it was all said and done, it was obvious that no detail had gone unnoticed. From the features of each part of the building, to the branding, to the advanced technology, this is a facility that allows Providence to compete nationally with what some of the top college basketball programs are able to provide for their athletes.
Here’s a look at how some of those features impact what the coaching staff and team are able to accomplish:
There are two practice courts that are being recorded at all times. That means the coaching staff is always able to account for who is getting extra work in after practice but perhaps more importantly it allows them to integrate everything they are doing from a technology standpoint. When a play happens during practice, the team is immediately able to review it, as the live feed is processed to multiple computers and screens instantaneously, including one big screen that is mounted to the wall next to the court. This also the staff to not just tell the players what corrections they need to make, but literally show them on screen without having to leave the court or interrupt the flow of practice.
Beyond video, technology is also being used in sports science and recovery. In fact, there isn’t much the Friar athletes don’t have access to now as they have sleep pods, flotation pools, cryogenic therapy, electronic massage, body fat testing, plus access to sports psychologists, team doctors, and x-ray machines when needed. In short, whether it is sleep, hydration, nutrition, or mental health, the athletic staff is clearly taking a holistic approach to meeting the needs of their student athletes.
Strength & Conditioning
The “weight room” is now so much more and allows Coach White to address the needs of his athletes. It may be something as simple as having high enough ceilings to allow for proper equipment for players this tall or the immediate proximity to the court, as the new facility is located immediately adjacent to the practice courts.
With a building this big, one of the most impressive parts about the project is that there is no wasted space. There is a specific rationale for almost every detail. The direction of the courts and locations of the windows were crafted to maximize natural light, Coach Cooley’s office was intentionally placed right in the middle of the facility so he could, and there is a specific space for everyone down to the graduate assistants and students managers.
From the player facilities to the multi-million dollar investment in branding alone, this is a building that built efficiently but in a way that is going to appeal to young people thanks to the numerous little details that went into it. The locker room is modeled after that of the one at Madison Square Garden, the “NBA Corner” reinforces the program’s ability to get their players to the highest level, the lounge overlooking the practice court makes it equally convenient to host NBA scouts or families on official visits, and the branding connections generations of Friars from Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan to Cooley and Kris Dunn.
When the tour was over, the most impressive part of the facility wasn’t any one feature but the fact that literally nothing seemed to be missing or out of place. Just the opposite, everything was studied and strategized ahead of time, down to the very last detail, and no expense spared to create one of the most impressive athletic facilities in the country.
Watch the full 30 minute special Inside Providence College’s Ruane Development Center Sunday December 23rd at 6PM on YurView New England.