the ball rolls on the new training center

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SOUTH ORANGE – As a Seton Hall student in the early 1960s, Pat Murray commuted from his home in Elizabeth, studied accounting, served at ROTC, and inevitably made his way to Walsh Gym to watch his classmates Nick Werkman and Sonny Sunkett light up the basketball scorecard. Games.

It all left a deep impression, especially this last part, which is why Murray and his wife Mary Ann Pfaff Murray recently donated $ 7 million to the university, including $ 2 million for a center. essential workout for the men’s basketball program.

“I really enjoyed my time at Seton Hall,” Murray said earlier this week from his home in Texas. “Even though I was commuting, I was still very involved in sports programs at the time, especially basketball. I enjoyed the games, I felt pretty well engaged in school, and I felt good in education.

His latest donation comes as Seton Hall athletic director Bryan Felt raises major donations for the training facility, which is expected to cost $ 40 million. The university has contracted with Cannon Design, the architect of recent University of Maryland football and basketball training facility projects.

Felt said the renderings will be unveiled in early 2022, when a public fundraising phase begins, and the land will be inaugurated in the summer of 2023. The facility will be built from the Richie Regan Recreation & Athletic Center .

“The back corner that faces the softball field, which will basically come out slightly,” Felt said. “You will always have the road there.”

Recent improvements to the center, including building the front of the facility with a fitness center under the direction of former athletic director Pat Lyons, created space for the current project. It will consist of a training ground and a half (a side field, for shooting), changing rooms, a lounge, a training room, a weight room, a gym. cinema, a material space and offices for men’s basketball.

Much of the centre’s current men’s basketball facilities, including the “Tommy Amaker Suite” for coaches overlooking Walsh, will be taken over by the women’s basketball program.

“We’re going to make some upgrades to that, a new locker room and a movie theater for women’s basketball,” Felt said.

Currently, the men’s team is training in the no-frills auxiliary gymnasium in the basement. Felt said the gym and the extra space freed up by the shuffle will be transferred to other sports.

The plan is to fund the new facility as much as possible with donations, although the university has issued $ 109 million in bonds for four major construction projects, including the basketball project and a redesign of the student center.

The push for new facilities is in line with what’s happening among Seton Hall’s leading peers. For example: In 2018, Providence opened a $ 35 million practice center. For chronological reference purposes, this project spanned two years, from the grand opening to the unveiling.

Seton Hall recently renovated and modernized the Walsh Gym and upgraded the Owen T. Carroll Field for soccer and baseball.

“It’s brand new and everything is going well, and the training center will be a big plus,” said Murray. “It’s a great recruiting tool to have something like this. “

The basketball program, he said, “provides great branding value for the school. You’re on TV about twice a week nationwide and you can’t buy that.

After Seton Hall, Murray served as a first lieutenant in the United States Army and rose through the corporate ranks from accountant to CEO in the energy industry. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Seton Hall and will be inducted into the school’s Track and Field Hall of Fame next year.

Although he lives in the Houston area, he will attend the Seton Hall showdown against Texas at the Prudential Center on Thursday. His daughter, a University of Texas alumnus, will be with him.

“We’ll see how much burnt orange she’s wearing,” he said with a chuckle, “and how much blue. “

Jerry Carino has covered the New Jersey sports scene since 1996 and the pace of college basketball since 2003. He is among the Associated Press’s Top 25 Voters. Contact him at [email protected]


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