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A Tillman Tunnel, a barber shop, and a ‘command center’: Full details of Sun Devils’ state-of-the-art Student Athlete Facility

Full details from Wednesday’s media tour.

Todd Graham outlines his plans for the new Student Athlete Facility.
Photo taken by Kaelen Jones

On Wednesday, Arizona State football head coach Todd Graham directed a local media tour of the program’s new, state-of-the-art Student-Athlete Facility, which is currently in-progress, but expected to be completed some time this July.

The walk-through consisted of stops to 17 different locations within the 118,669-square-foot facility. Approximately 101,210 square feet is being dedicated to football, with 17,459 square feet being designated to stadium operations, including kitchen, field storage and maintenance, and security.

Below, we provide complete details of each part of the new digs, as well as official notes (denoted by letter) handed out by Sun Devil Athletics, including additional notes and quotes from the tour.


Level 110:

1. Sun Devils come onto the Field, 2. Training Table/Recruiting, 3. Tillman Tunnel, 4. Locker Room, 5. Barbershop/Plunge Pool, 6. Players’ Lounge, 7. Nutrition Bar, 8. Sports Medicine, 9. Cardio Deck/Weight Room, 10. Main Lobby.

Level 150:

11. Auditorium, 12. Third Floor Lobby, 13. Coaches Office/Staff Meeting Room, 14. War Room, 15. Position Meeting Rooms, 16. Academic Services

1. New North Entry to Frank Kush Field

  • The Sun Devils will now run out on game day from the north side of the field. In past seasons, they’ve run out from the tunnel beneath the student section on the south side.

2. Training Table (5,347 square feet)

a. On non-game day, will be training table, with complete food service, seating for about 160 people
b. On game day, will be used as the recruiting room for ASU recruits.

3. Tillman Tunnel (490 square feet)

a. Team will now run out of the north end zone
b. Gates that open the tunnel on game day, close off on non-game day
c. Tunnel will be lined with former student-athletes. The players will run past these former players signifying running through the tradition the program is built on.
d. Tillman statue near where team enter the field.

  • Tillman statue likened to being a new Howard’s Rock tradition at Clemson.
  • “Hall of Brotherhood.” List of names of all ASU football players from the 1890’s on are listed by decade.
  • Will feature graphics.

4. Locker Room (5,750 square feet)

a. Game day
b. Barber shop

Artist rendition of the locker room inside Arizona State University’s new Student-Athlete Facility.
Josh Martin, ASU Football tight ends coach via Twitter
  • Same lockers as those used by the Dallas Cowboys.
  • The player sanctuary, “a sacred place.”
  • Videowall.
  • Four pillars to symbolize mantra, “Character. Smart. Discipline. Tough.”
  • Ventilation inside building.
  • Sound system.

5. Plunge Pool (706 square feet)

a. Fits approximately 30 student-athletes
b. # of TVs
c. waterfall feature

Artist rendition of plunge pool inside ASU’s new Student-Athlete Facility
Josh Martin, ASU Football tight ends coach via Twitter
  • i.e., “Cold Tank” for players to receive hydrotherapy.
  • Hydrotherapy waterfalls.
  • Showers are behind.

6. Player Lounge (1,542 square feet)

a. Personal lounge for players, — TVs, gaming, ping-pong, pool

  • “We presently don’t have this, a place where our players can relax and unwind together.”
  • Wanted it to be next to the locker room.

7. Nutrition Bar (495 square feet)

a. Working with nutritionists to ensure student-athletes eat food based on a personal nutrition program.

  • Convenient placement by locker room.

8. Sports Medicine (5,387 square feet)

a. World-class training staff and equipment to give student-athletes treatment.
b. Taping stations and exam rooms.
c. Hydrotherapy and plunge pools.

  • Areas where players can be examined, includes private examination rooms.
  • “State-of-the-art” training room.

9. Weight Room (9,813 square feet)/Cardio Deck (1,924 square feet)

a. A smaller fueling station located here.
b. Four pillars of the program: Character, Smart, Discipline, Tough.

  • Isaac Manning, Sun Devil Stadium project representative: “One of the things that Graham wanted to make sure of is that the weight room where Sun Devils are made is front and center. When you’re wandering, you’re coming into this building, the first that you see is, in your entrance in the lobby, is the weight room.”
  • Graham: “This room is to represent what our program is about, and training, development and teaching is what our program’s about.”
  • Graham: “This is where the brunt of the work is done, right in here. This is a really special area.”
  • Graham: “Training facility for our players that will be second to none, from an innovation standpoint.”
Rendition of the weight room inside ASU’s new Student-Athlete Facility
Josh Martin, ASU Football tight ends coach via Twitter
  • Cardio deck: ellipticals, treadmills, high-speed treadmills, speed training
  • Strength staff’s offices below
  • Another nutrient bar.
  • Uniform display walking between weight room and main lobby.

10. Main Lobby (Donated by Betsy and Kent Bro)

a. Main entrance into the SAF, all of the visitors will enter here.
b. Donated by Betsy and Kent Bro.
c. First thing you see: One Goal. Champions, on and off the football field with the intentional view into the weight room.

  • From the parking lot, will be a main entrance into the building.
  • Graham: “This is kind of the Hall of Fame area.”
  • Has three symbolic parts: 1. Honor the past, recognizing the great tradition that they have. ... 2. Motivate and inspire to build and train the present. ... 3. Activate the future.
  • Graham: “This whole area here is where players spend their time building relationship and train.”
  • Trying to create a “desert atmosphere” for those who enter (high ceilings)
  • Designated for “distinguished Hall of Fame.” Program legends such as Pat Tillman, Frank Kush, the undefeated 1975 team, etc.

11. Auditorium (2,530 square feet)

a. 167 seats
b. Full team meetings, where teaching happens.

  • No significance to number of seats; team has “wide bodies”.
  • From a teaching standpoint, “this is the most important room.”
  • Allows Graham large enough room to have entire team inside, can conduct team activities and meetings.
  • New media room.

12. Third Floor Lobby

a. (Recognition of) Sun Devils in the NFL

  • Overlooks Tempe Town Lake area.

13. Coaches’ Offices/Academics (9,154 square feet)

a. Coaches offices on the outside wing, recruiting, video ops, and meeting rooms on the inside.
b. Academics contains a computer room and four study rooms.

  • Recruiting coordinating center placed up front, originally had been in the back.
  • Offensive coordinator office across from consultants.
  • Graham estimated he spends 14 hours per week inside of an office along with other coaches.

14. Staff Meeting Rooms (2,412 square feet)

a. Defensive and offensive staff room.
b. War Room: 1,045 sq. ft.

  • Watch and break down film.
  • Graham says intention is to keep coaches from being all spread out.
  • War Room: full staff meetings, where they can meet offense and defense. Personnel board with projection screens to watch recruits as a staff.
  • Graham: “We believe in the teaching model. So this is a teaching facility. That’s teaching coaches, that’s teaching staff members, and how we design the building, that was really, really important.”
  • Projection screen technology to be used in in every room.
  • Took seats, moved them to back of room and stair-stepped them to make larger areas because “players want to step through.”
  • Graham: “The technology that we’re using in creating life-size figures on the wall, so our use of projection technology in this room is projected from the floor to seven feet tall. So you can actually put the figures on the wall that are life size, so you’re able to create simulators out of your meeting rooms.”
  • Graham: “That’s one of the most exciting things about this building is the innovation to maximize our teaching, which also maximizes your time, the integration of technology into what we’re doing. That all goes through the command center... (where technology coordinator) basically operates all of the video at practice, all of our meetings. Operates all of the coaches’ staff rooms.”
  • Note: Nope, not the type of command center Mike Leach thinks he has.

15. Position Meeting Rooms (4,550 square feet)

a. The history of the position, so everyone knows the great players who came before them.
b. Watching film, learning assignments.
c. Quarterbacks, Tight Ends, Running Backs, Special Teams, Devil backers: 12 seats.
d. Defensive Line, Offensive Line, Linebackers: 25 seats.
i. Smartboards.
e. Defensive Backs, Wide Receivers: 50 seats.
i. Video Projection.

  • Offense and defense meets as a unit, team also can.
  • Stadium seating creates large enough areas between where they sit and projections so that they can perform walk-throughs.
  • Graham: “We want to have simulations that are teaching them to plays with videos but then we also wanna get them out of their chairs and do step-throughs. Kids learn more by doing, and then by using technology to not have the figures on the wall this small, where you can create life-size figures on the walls by using video technology and projection technology, that’s gonna make this a state-of-the-art teaching facility. That’s probably one of the things I’m most passionate about.”
  • Every one of the players have iPads. Use technology for corrections, and things of such nature.
  • Graham calls it a “game-changer.” Being efficient with their time and using technology and innovation to help further that.
  • Low impact on their body and maximizes time.
  • In different positions virtual technology is beneficial. QBs, DBs; Graham’s will benefit other position groups as well.

Academic Center

  • Third floor of academic center will be for all student athletes, a “mega” academic center. Floor essentially designated for teaching.
  • Meeting rooms designated for mentors and tutors.

16. Videoboard

a. Size: 180x60 (with speaker clusters), one foot bigger than UA
b. Steel erection will begin March 15th

17. Closing Room (370 square feet)/North Terrace Club

North Terrace Club
a. Saved the old loge level with a fabulous view of the stadium. Will serve as a club space with stadium seats and lounge seating.

  • Located behind the videoboard.
  • Manning: “Basically an acre of space.”
  • Designated as a “beer garden”.

Closing Room
b. Closing room is the final stop for the recruits to see where they will play every Saturday.

  • Overlooks Frank Kush Field from north end zone.
  • Place for recruits to take in scene.
  • Serves as final opportunity for team to make lasting impression.
  • Graham: “We put a little thought in this thing.”