Last week, in UD’s Little Known Facts, Nick Krause told quite the story about the apparent sharp decline in the reputation of University of Dallas athletics from the “Notre Dame of the Southwest” to the Division III program it is today. In the piece, athletic director Dick Strockbine talked about how the department has improved since he arrived in 1995. While it sounds like athletics here has certainly made necessary improvements, there is a long way for it to go to be on par with our peers.
The University of Dallas competes in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) for most of its sports. The other seven (soon to be eight) members of the conference, therefore, would be the group UD athletics should aspire to emulate.
In Krause’s piece, Strockbine talked about how, when he arrived at UD, the Maher Center was not the mecca of Division III athletics that we know it as today — okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. According to Strockbine, the roof leaked, the weight room was the size of his office and the office next door, and the cardio machines were in the hallway right outside his current office. Obviously, the athletic facilities are now in a much better state than they were.
However, the facilities at UD still need improvements to be on par with its peers around the SCAC. For example, the bleachers in the Maher Center are old and feel like they’re falling apart. UD is the only school in the SCAC with wooden bleachers, and in addition to being uncomfortable, they could be a safety hazard.
Another problem is the size of the training room. UD has by far the smallest training room in the SCAC. This is a problem when there are multiple sports in season, as it becomes crowded before practices and games, and is also a problem when visiting teams are using the training room to get ready before games.
A third problem is the locker room situation, which goes to the overall size of the Maher Center. There is just one varsity locker room for both men and women, meaning teams have to share the locker room based on whether or not they’re in season. There is also just one other men and women’s locker room in addition to the varsity locker room, making it difficult to have visiting locker rooms.
I don’t want this to just be seen merely as a rant against UD’s athletic facilities. The department has certainly put resources into improving the facilities. The weight room received almost all-new equipment two years ago, and there are plans in place for a new baseball, soccer, and intramural field whenever the money comes in for it.
When Prince Giadolor won the SCAC championship for the 100-meter dash two years ago, it was the first SCAC championship UD had ever won. The athletic department has done and is continuing to do a lot in terms of improving its facilities, but it still has some work to do if it wants to catch up to the rest of the SCAC and compete for championships more often.