The Western Carolina Department of Athletics set a lofty standard two summers ago. Simply put, the Catamounts have "One Goal... To Be the Best..." Western wants to be the best on the field, by winning the Southern Conference's annual Commissioner's and Germann Cups, while being the epitome of sportsmanship by winning the D.S. McAlister Award. Western, through athletics and University support, has also made a serious commitment to academics and community service. To continue attracting the top student-athletes and to make their experience unmatched over their career, the University has over $10 million in construction projects either completed or in the construction/planning process to its athletic facilities to position Western Carolina as the Best...!
Projects Completed Since 2001
Bob Waters Field, WCU's football playing field, had a one-million dollar state-of-the-art playing surface installed.
The WCU athletics training room has had two significant upgrades over the past two years. First, the facility was renovated in the Summer of 2001. This past summer, a partnership with Western Carolina University, Sylva Orthopaedics Associates and Westcare Health System created the Carolina West Sports Medicine clinic. The facility received a second overhaul and expansion with the partnership. Now it features office space for the WCU athletic trainers and team doctors, as well as state-of-the-art equipment for the treatment and rehabilitation of student-athletes. Also, as part of the partnership, full-time doctors and physical therapists are on duty as part of a clinic, which is open to the public.
The Jordan-Phillips Field House has been renovated and expanded as part of Phase One of the facility upgrades. During halftime of the 2002 Appalachian State game, namesakes Andy Jordan and Teddy Phillips pledged $120,000 to the project. The Field House now features a larger weight room to benefit all student-athletes, while an expanded visitor locker room will help make Whitmire Stadium one of the best sites in the SoCon. Also, the second floor allows space for the Acdemic Enhancement Program.
For the 2003 football season, construction was completed as the West Side stands at Whitmire Stadium added nearly 4,000 seats to the facility. Included in the project was new lights, a new sound system for Whitmire Stadium and a concourse for concessions and restrooms.
The Catamount Athletic Center, which fully houses the women's soccer, volleyball and men's and women's track/cross country teams, was completely renovated, adding office space, locker rooms, laundry facility and a training room. The gym floor in the Catamount Athletic Center was refurbished, allowing space for the volleyball team and track and field teams to practice at their convenience.
The football practice field was resurfaced with Bermuda grass and the soccer field had new sod planted.
The WCU football locker room had new carpet installed. The football dressing facility will have new lockers installed in the near future. Former players will have the opportunity to purchase their locker with their name, jersey number and years played forever etched as part of Western's football history.
Adjacent to the WCU football offices, a team room was built. The room provides space for two additional offices as well as a space for all Catamount teams and staff to have meetings and watch film.
In the Fall of 2002, Childress Field at Hennon Stadium had lights and a new sound system installed. The WCU baseball program was able to practice at night during the fall and will play its first ever, home night game on Mar. 25 when nationally-ranked Clemson comes to Cullowhee.
Phase Two of the facilities upgrades included a complete overhaul of the WCU baseball field with a new irrigation system and a completely new playing surface for both the infield and outfield. Also, the outfield fence features a new "Purple Monster" in left field.
Projects That Will Be Completed by 2004-05
Plans have already been made for a new softabll facility.
Update on Track/Soccer/Tennis Complex
The future of Catamount sports has never been brighter. With the goal of winning championships and developing championship programs, these new facilities reflect that goal. Western Carolina University is no stranger to championship caliber athletes. WCU is the home of former All-American athletes, All-Southern Conference performers, All-Region performers, All-National team performers, Freshman of the Year honorees, Conference and National All-Freshmen team members and SoCon Student-Athletes of the Year.
To facilitate the development of these exceptional athletes and teams, Western Carolina is in the middle of building a brand new, state-of-the-art track and field/soccer/tennis complex. The actual building will house a pressbox, which will face the track/soccer field. It will also include men's and women's restrooms, two team rooms, a tennis lockerroom, concessions and storage space. All areas of the building, courts and track and field will be lighted.
As for the field/courts, there are scheduled to be eight total tennis courts with two of them taking on a "center court" atmosphere. Eight lanes will occupy the track, which will stand near the location where the school's current track exists. One main difference will be that the sprint lanes will be located on the opposite end of the field, in part to provide better viewing from the grandstands as well as giving the sprinters an advantage due to wind direction. The stands facing the soccer field/track will accommodate 1,000 fans and the facility will allow WCU to host Southern Conference and high school championships for the first time.
"We are very excited about this new facility and what it will mean for our athletes, teams and the Western North Carolina area," said athletics director Jeff Compher. "We are hoping to have this project completed and ready for competition by the spring or summer of 2004."