When football players at Wake Forest University aren’t on the field, they’re often found at the McCreary Football Complex.
Since moving in and starting practice in late July, the team has made the new facility their home away from home. Senior associate athletic director Will Pantages calls the complex a one-stop shop.
“It truly transforms the football experience for our student athletes,” he told WStoday.
Kicking off the new season
One side of the facility’s main floor has a training room, an equipment room, and a sports performance area where players can get therapy after games. The locker room has space to hold gear for 130 players.
The second half of the main area has amenities for players to unwind, including video games, ping-pong tables, pool tables, and multiple televisions. There are also hyperbaric sleep chambers that allow players to catch a nap while fighting inflammation.
Pantages says the facility keeps players looking their best, too. Punter Ivan Mora and wide receiver Ke’Shawn Williams are both barbers who sometimes cut their teammates’ hair in the two chairs at the Dapper Deacon barbershop.
Pantages says being able to sleep, study, and bond in one place is having a positive impact on players on and off the field.
“Everything boils down to relationships and so this space in the McCreary Football Complex really allows for that team camaraderie, for guys to be together.”
The main floor is also decked out with a full kitchen and a nutrition station + the multipurpose room can seat up to 200 people for team meals and meetings. When it’s time to talk football or watch tapes, players can jump in an elevator and be in a coach’s office three floors up.
Fourth quarter for facilities
The locker room inside Pruitt Football Center, which the McCreary Football Complex replaced, was built in 1988. Of the 21 varsity sports programs Wake Forest University sponsors, football was the last team to have their locker room upgraded. Pantages says the new complex matches other sports facilities and buildings on campus.
“That’s kind of in line with everything that we do — try to provide that world-class student athlete experience. And part of doing that is having really top-notch facilities that allow our student athletes to have all the resources they need to be successful on a daily basis.”
Teamwork makes the dream work
The 60,000 sqft complex is connected to the program’s indoor practice facility, the McCreary Football Field House. It adjoins Sutton Sports Performance Center.
Making the building a reality was a team effort. Bob McCreary, an alumnus whose name the complex now bears, donated $20 million toward the $38 million facility. Hundreds of donors pitched in to come up with the rest.
The facility took 16 months to build and was dedicated on Aug. 17.
Pantages says the McCreary Football Complex is an investment in the future of the football program. It will help recruit and retain student-athletes so students, alumni, and local fans can keep enjoying competitive Demon Deacon football.
“It just says that football matters and it’s important at Wake Forest,” Pantages said.