Behind the scenes upgrades keep DU in Division I arms race

Photo: Courtesy  University of Denver. This rendering shows DU hockey’s Miller Complex locker room when complete

The University of Denver is undergoing an athletic transformation that many fans may not see but are, nonetheless, critical to DU’s success now and in the future.

Of course, fans want to see the glitzy, visible additions like the new Denver Tennis Park and the upgraded Hamilton Gym with a new synthetic playing surface for volleyball that an anonymous donor purchased this past season.

But, there are a number of ‘behind the scenes’ improvements that are keys to recruiting and sustaining athletic excellence. And many of these are being supported by donors who have become an ever more critical part of DU athletics capital campaigns now and in the future.More than 140 donors, which include 70 former hockey players, and led by alumnus and Board of Trustee member John Miller, are driving the construction of the new Miller Hockey Complex. The hockey locker room will have a nutrition station, study area,  video terminals, hydrotherapy pools and upgraded lockers, bathroom and showers.

Hockey Miller Locker Room
Photo: Courtesy Kaley Ricket Twitter. Construction has begun on the Miller Hockey Complex

In late April, Closet Factory CEO Mark Lestikow (BSBA ’75), and his wife and company president, Polly, where the lead donors that helped fund the new Pioneer Health and Performance Nutrition Station at the Pat Bowlen Training Center. The nutrition station will be available to all DU athletes. With unusual travel schedules and variable training and game times, Denver athletes will be able to fuel up when other sources of healthy food may not be available in or around campus.

Photo: Courtesy University of Denver

The women’s lacrosse locker rooms will be redone this upcoming summer. The facility, under Peter Barton Stadium, will be upgraded with a lounge area, new lockers, improved lighting and upgraded showers and lockers. The cost will be north of $200,000. The men’s lacrosse locker room has already been remodeled and upgraded.

And there are ongoing efforts behind the scenes to re-brand training areas. Denver coaches worked together this year and pooled their budget money to put new graphics in the Pat Bowlen Training Center to create a more unified, branded look for DU athletes and visitors.

In the competitive chase for D-1 athletes, it is as much about the athletes’ experience as it is the fan experience. So, ongoing upgrades behind the scenes are essential to remaining competitive with athletic rivals. It also takes the athletic development team and staff, led by Brandon Macneill, Associate Vice Chancellor for External Affairs, to cultivate relationships with donors, large and small, to keep DU in the Division I arms race.

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