Tag Archives: Phil Knight

Is Oregon’s Football Performance Center the world’s finest athletic facility?

Don’t let the imported Italian marble and furniture, Portuguese slate floors, black glass and Ferrari leather chairs fool you.

The University of Oregon’s new Football Performance Center may have lavish design elements similar to the world’s finest palaces, but this facility was built for one purpose – winning.

Phil Knight, founder of Nike and the Center’s chief financier, knows a thing or two about winning. His wife, Penny, evidentially knows a little something about interior decorating. No one will confirm the estimated $68 million price tag, but the attention to detail is unmatched.

War Room

Is this the White House war room?

From architectural designs down to the bathroom faucets, the couple spared no expense with the 145,000-square-foot Performance Center. The Ducks coaching staff, however, would prefer that we focus on the ‘Performance’ in the facility’s name. That’s easier said than done.

The six-story facility built alongside Autzen Stadium and overlooking the team’s practice field was designed to be both functional and efficient for coaches and player that spend countless hours there. To increase ease of access and convenience, building designers considered how rooms flow from one to another.

Among the Center’s list of high-tech amenities and creature comforts, include: vented odor-reducing lockers, a cafeteria, a players lounge with big screen TVs, a coaching staff war room, a sprawling weight room, a medical treatment facility, two auditoriums, underground parking and even a barbershop. The thoughtfully placed ‘O’ logos, the fighting duck mascot and the school’s green and yellow colors – all reminders you are a long way from Corvallis.

Oregon Players Lounge

Oregon’s facilities and uniforms have wowed recruits for the past decade, but the new Oregon Performance Center put the Ducks over the top. I know how Husky and Beaver fans will answer the headline: F#@! no! But talk to the top recruits who visit Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Texas or the new Husky Stadium. Even those that may not ultimately choose the Ducks will tell you Oregon’s are best.

Professional teams around the world now have something to compare against, but that was not Phil Knight’s intention.  He built the Football Performance Center to help the Ducks football program continue to compete with the nation’s elite programs. He also built it to help the school continue to blow away recruits. By all accounts – mission accomplished.

Is this the world’s best athletic facility? Make your case below in the comments.
Weight Room

Photo Credit: University of Oregon Athletics

U. of Arizona Unveils Stadium Expansion and Football-only Facility

The preseason crawl of college football stadium construction projects travels to Tucson where earlier this month the University of Arizona opened the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility at Arizona Stadium.  Built for $72.3 million with private donations from David and Edith Lowell and Jeff and Sharon Stevens, the new integrated stadium complex helps the Rich Rodriguez-led football program join the all-out Pac-12 facilities throwdown to impress recruits. Thank you, Phil Knight.

Similar to projects at Mississippi State and Kansas State, consider the Arizona Stadium expansion a partial upgrade rather than a tear-down, do-over remodel. The modern four-story Lowell-Stevens Facility permanently encloses the north end zone and adds 4,200 seats to boost capacity over 56,000. Inside Lowell-Stevens, the site offers first-class amenities, including: a private club area (the Sands Club), a welcome center, locker rooms, a 4,500-square foot weight room, advanced medical facilities and direct walking access onto the field.

These facility upgrades send a strong message of commitment to alumni, but  they’re also expected by top recruits. For Arizona, projected to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12 South, they might need all the help they can get this season to impress recruits and give fans reason to combat the heat.

Check out the zoomable camera at the Lowell-Steven facility web page. Also, I found two Arizona Athletic Department videos below: the first a recap of the grand opening and the latter an earlier look at the construction site with Coach Rodriguez as your tour guide.

Videos and Photo Credit: University of Arizona

Stadium Food Spotlight: Bacon Maple Brat

One more reason to love minor league baseball, a marriage between the Eugene Emeralds and Portland, Oregon’s legendary Voodoo Doughnuts has spawned a new stadium food sports fans dream about – the Bacon Maple Brat.

Made in heaven (Eugene), the Bacon Maple Brat.  Brilliant!

Made in heaven (Eugene), the Bacon Maple Brat. Brilliant!

Voodoo Doughnuts has both food-loving and hung-over Portlandians queuing for their famous bacon-topped maple bar and other deep-fried creations. Together with the Emeralds, they’ve transformed a traditional ballpark food into a road-trip worthy gut bomb. Take your standard bratwurst, layer a strip of bacon on top, place them in a maple bar sliced like a hot dog bun, drizzle maple goodness over it and you have a Bacon Maple Brat. Even better, pair it at the ballpark with the local Oakshire Brewing Overcast Espresso Stout for a twist on a classic breakfast combo. Yum.

PK Park

Originally built to house the University of Oregon’s baseball program and located next to Autzen Stadium, PK Park houses both the Ducks and the MLB San Diego Padres minor league affiliate, the Emeralds. The Park is not, however, named after the University’s most prominent backer with the initials PK, Nike founder Phil Knight. Coincidentally, the Ducks have another large donor with the same initials – former athletic director Pat Kilkenny.  His donation helped fund the construction of the four-old baseball stadium.

Sorry Duck fans, Bacon Maple Brats are only available at Emeralds home games. To plan a road trip to grab this iconic grub, see their schedule here.

PK Park, Home of the Eugene Emeralds

Have you had a Bacon Maple Brat?  Tell me about it in the comments.