Basketball: UVU breaks ground for training facility, future of programs

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Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics

OREM, Utah—The Utah Valley University athletic department broke ground on the NUVI Basketball Center on the south side of the UCCU Center on UVU’s Orem campus Wednesday morning. The ceremony marked the beginning of construction on a $3.5 million, privately funded training facility, which will house the UVU men and women’s basketball teams.

“It’s a really important step among a thousand steps that we have to take as a program to get to the level that we want to get to,” said UVU men’s basketball coach Mark Pope. “And I’m really, really proud of the people that have partnered with us and jumped in and helped us with this. I’m really, really grateful for them, and grateful for this administration, starting with President [Matthew] Holland that have let us move so fast on this and just chase it as fast as we can.”

The new facility will total 14,500 square feet, including 8,000 square feet of basketball court space, 1,900 square feet of space dedicated to strength and conditioning and 3,000 square feet of office space for the men and women’s coaching staff overlooking the practice courts.

UVU women’s basketball coach Cathy Nixon, who has coached 21 seasons at UVU, expressed her excitement in getting a new facility as she shared experiences the women’s basketball team had while sharing the current amenities with other teams on campus, and even the circus.

“It’s just what we did,” said Coach Nixon. “Literally, we had some humorous moments where Coach [Dick] Hunsaker really did get hit by a shot put one day. But we had tigers in the hallways here, where if you opened the door of the athletic office it would growl at you. We’ve had all kinds of great things.”

Donors who helped in funding the NUVI Basketball Center include the lead naming gift from Keith Nellesen and NUVI, former UVU basketball players Ryan Toolson and Travis Hansen, Utah Community Credit Union, Workers Compensation Fund, Todd Pedersen of Vivint, Alexander’s Print Advantage and Forte Elements.

“It’s a huge deal for us to be able to claim NUVI,” said Coach Pope. “NUVI is a company that’s going through the roof right now. That’s an exciting tech company that’s got a real incredible future for growth, it’s got some swag to it. And the fact that we get to practice in the building with their name is a huge boom for us, it just adds to the texture of our program.”

Part of the intent of the training facility is to bring in new recruits to continue to build the basketball programs at UVU. Coach Pope says players will be allowed access to the center whenever they need.

“It gives us a place to call our own and allows us to take our program to the next level,” said Coach Pope. “Chasing WAC championships and NCAA tournament bids is not a two-hour-a-day project. Such lofty goals will require that we have 24/7 players in a 24/7 program chasing big dreams. This practice center gives us the opportunity to chase those dreams.”

There was no estimated completion date for the training facility given at this time.